Opposition political party leader, Kizza Besigye, returned to court today in a case in which he and 22 other men accused of treason have petitioned the Constitutional Court regarding the legal interpretation of sticking issues in their case.
Besigye and his 22 co-accused were represented by their lawyer, David Mpanga, who asked Court to pronounce itself on the continued detention of 14 of the treason suspects, who were granted bail last year. He said the detention of the suspects were unlawful and was a violation of their rights. He also challenged the prosecution of the 14 suspects while they are still in detention.
Mpanga added that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had failed to give Besigye's lawyers adequate information for them to prepare for the criminal case before the High Court. He said that contravened Article 168 of the Magistrate Courts Act, which stipulates that every accused person should be given reasonable information regarding a case in which he or she is charged with.
On the details of the treason case, Mpanga argued that the case was based on evidence from self-confessed criminals and their accomplices.
Prior to the adjournment of Besigye's treason case in May this year, the prosecution had produced several witnesses to testify to the opposition leader's involvement with insurgent groups in Uganda. Among the witnesses was Jennifer Aryemo, a self-confessed rebel collaborator, George Abedo, a former rebel abductee and fighter and Lt Migadde Ssemakula, a former intelligence officer who was once arrested for armed robbery.
Just before the case was adjourned, the prosecution produced the former Director of Operations in the Lord's Resistance Army, Onen Kamdul, as the fifth witness in the case.
Mpanga said the testimony of known criminals violates the rights of the accused to a fair trial.
In response the State, represented by Joseph Matsiko the former Director of Civil Litigation, asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss Besigye's application because in his petition wrongfully included the DPP in his suit.
Mpanga responded with the observation that the Attorney General was also sued in the case and asked for the application to remain before court.
Justice Galdino Okello, the chairperson of the panel of judges presiding over the case, said both sides would be notified on a date for the ruling of the case soon. He instructed the prisons authorities to ensure that the 14 detained treason suspects are brought to Court to listen to the judgment in their case.