Muslim Clerics Trial: Court Assessors to Present Opinion on Tuesday

1490 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The International Crimes Division of the High Court has given court assessors until Tuesday next week to present their opinion on whether to convict or acquit Muslim clerics accused of terrorism, murder and crimes against humanity.

The International Crimes Division of the High Court has given court assessors until Tuesday next week to present their opinion on whether to convict or acquit Muslim clerics accused of terrorism, murder and crimes against humanity.
 
Fourteen men including former Tabliq leader Yunus Kamoga are accused of complicity in the murder of Muslim Sheikhs Mustafa Bahiga and Ibrahim Kirya between 2012 and 2015.
 
The 14 are also accused of killing several rival Muslim leaders. They are also charged with terrorism and attempted murder of Prince Kassim Nakibinge and Dr. Haruna Jjemba.
 
Following both their submissions, the defense lawyers called on court to rule that the accused have no case to answer, while the prosecution stated that there is sufficient evidence to convict them.
 
Some of the evidence pointed out that the clerics organised meetings in various parts of the country, printed fliers with names of the people they wanted dead and were involved in religious misunderstandings with almost all the people who were murdered.
 
Today, three judges Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Tuhaise and Jane Kiggundu summarised the prosecution's evidence to the three court assessors who have been following the case since its inception.
 
On Tuesday the assessors are expected to give their opinion.
 
Asked whether they are ready to submit their opinions, the assessors stated that they will be able to do it on Tuesday.
 
This, however, does not mean whatever they present as their opinion on conviction, or acquittal is final, as the judge can still rule otherwise.
 
Robert Kagoro Friday, one of the defense lawyers is happy that the trial seems to be coming to an end. He says it's unfair that the case has delayed for close to two years without the people getting justice.
  
Prosecution alleges that the 14 accused and others still at large, between December 2013 and June 2015 in Kampala and Wakiso districts, directly involved themselves or were complicit in the attempted or threatened to murder or attack other Muslim leaders.
  
It is further alleged that the accused were involved in the murder of Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga who was shot dead at Bwebajja on Entebbe Road in December 2014; and Sheikh Hassan Kirya, who was killed in Bweyogerere near Kampala seven months later.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.