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Court of Appeal throws out bail application for MPs Ssegirinya , Ssewanyana

The Court of Appeal in Kampala has dismissed a bail application for jailed Members of Parliament Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana.

In a ruling on Wednesday morning by a panel of three Court of Appeal Justices including Cheborion Barishaki, Christopher Izama Madrama, and Eva Luswata, the application was thrown out on grounds that that the court has no jurisdiction to hear their appeal.

The Court heard that since Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana were still under trial and had neither been acquitted nor convicted there is no way how they can appeal in the Court of Appeal.

The justices contend that they can only pronounce themselves on the matter if there is a decree by the High Court in form of either acquittal, dismissal of charges, or conviction and sentencing on charges against the accused persons.

The justices also ordered for an expeditious trial, considering the accused have stayed on prolonged remand of nine months without trial.

Speaking to lawyers outside court one of the lawyers Samuel Muyizzi said they will petition the Constitutional Court on the matter because bail is a right under article 23 and 28 in the supreme law of Uganda. Muyizzi says his clients have the right to liberty and a fair and speedy trial.

“The implication of the decision today is that courts are actually permitted to indefinitely hold accused persons at the whims of the State.We agreed that if we lose this appeal, we will file a Constitutional Petition” He says

The legislators were arrested on September 7 2021 alongside seven others in connection to the machete killings in Lwengo and Masaka districts. They were later granted bail on 21 September, but the two MPs were re-arrested from the outskirts of Kigo Prisons, and fresh murder charges were preferred against them.

They applied for bail but on October 25, Masaka High Court Judge Lawrence Tweyanze denied them bail on grounds that they are accused of a string of Capital offenses that all attract a maximum of the death penalty and that the MPs could flee from justice and given their position in society as lawmakers, they would interfere with the trial process.

Through their lawyers, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi,  Erias Lukwago, and  Shamim Malende they told Court that bail is a constitutional right and that their clients had been kidnapped by unknown people only to be dumped in Kigo Prison.

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