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Lawyers fight to defend Kayihura

KAMPALA. Different lawyers are scrambling to represent detained former Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura, who is expected to appear in the General Court Martial today on yet unspecified charges.

Kampala lawyers Caleb Alaka and Evans Ochieng told Daily Monitor yesterday that Gen Kayihura invited them to meet him in detention at Makindye Military Barracks last Saturday to give them instructions to represent him in court.

The lawyers said they expected Gen Kayihura to be produced in the military court at Makindye today.

“It is highly possible that Gen Kayihura will be charged before court tomorrow (today) but we, as his lawyers, don’t know yet the charges against him,” counsel Alaka said by telephone.

“They have been trying to block lawyers from meeting him but should they fail to produce him in court tomorrow [today], we shall apply to court for a habeas corpus,” Mr Alaka added.

A habeas corpus application is made in court seeking orders to compel authorities to produce a suspect who is deemed to be unfairly detained.

Gen Kayihura was picked by the military from his country home in Kashagama in Lyantonde District last Wednesday. He was flown in a military chopper to army headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala, for interrogation. The army declined to reveal the charges for which Gen Kayihura had been arrested.

Counsel Alaka said the 48-hour constitutional limit for a detained suspect to be produced in court applies to both the civil and military courts and noted that he expected the army court at Makindye to observe that law.

However, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said the army can’t be stampeded to produce Gen Kayihura in court. He instead advised Daily Monitor ‘to keep watching events on Gen Kayihura as they unfold.’

When asked about Gen Kayihura’s condition in jail, counsel Alaka declined to divulge much but said he was being held in a house, which was once occupied by the deputy commandant of Makindye barracks.

His colleague counsel Ochieng who visited Kayihura in jail last Saturday briefly said: “any person detained in prison does not look good.”

However, last evening it emerged that another law firm, Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA), had also received instructions to represent Gen Kayihura.

“We have heard that the media has assigned Gen Kayihura lawyers but KAA has the official instructions to represent him.

Should there be any queries and issues regarding Gen Kayihura’s well-being, we are there to explain to the concerned parties,” Mr Elison Karuhanga, a lawyer at Kampala Associated Advocates, said last evening.

He also refuted media reports that Gen Kayihura’s wife had been arrested for questioning or that his home was a scene of crime.

Later KAA issued a statement saying it was the official law firm representing Gen Kayihura.
“Any statement for and on his behalf will be issued only by us.

Therefore disregard all statements purportedly issued on behalf of Gen Kayihura. Our instructions are to inform the public that he is entirely innocent of all the malicious allegations peddled in the press,” KAA’s statement reads in part.

More than a dozen people, mainly Kayihura’s associates and confidants, have been arrested on diverse crimes, which were allegedly committed during his reign as Inspector General of Police. The charges include murder, concealment of murder, brutality, kidnap and others deemed to be of “grave nature” which have not yet been disclosed.

Abdullah Kitatta, former patron of Boda Boda 2010, a notorious gang known for brutalising the public; Senior Commissioner of Police Joel Aguma and Senior Superintendent of Police Nickson Agasirwe are in detention over such charges.

Last Friday, investigators took Gen Kayihura back to his home in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb, and searched it for hours. It was not readily established whether the search yielded anything of prosecution value.

There is a dilemma surrounding the existence of the military court since the tenure of the court’s chairman Lt Gen Andrew Gutti has expired. It is not clear how Gen Kayihura will be charged in the court without a valid chairman.

However, Brig Karemire yesterday said the military court would be reconstituted.
“If the term of office of the court martial has expired, the same will be re-constituted in accordance with the law and we shall do that,” Brig Karemire said by telephone.

In custody

Charges. More than a dozen people, mainly Kayihura’s associates and confidants, have been arrested on diverse crimes, which were allegedly committed during his reign as IGP. The charges include murder, concealment of murder, brutality, kidnap and others deemed to be of “grave nature” which have not yet been disclosed.

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