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Court Orders Medical Exam for Bombing Suspects Amid Torture Claims

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | The International Crimes Division of the High Court has ordered the medical evaluation of 19 suspects associated with the Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) and IPS bombings. This assessment is aimed at verifying their claims of being subjected to torture during their time in custody. Among these suspects are individuals from diverse backgrounds, including mobile money operators, a welder, a boda boda rider, a student, a tailor, and a housewife, among others.

Justice Richard Wejuli Wabwire instructed prison doctors to conduct these medical examinations and report their findings to the court within 21 days. This decision stemmed from the complaint made by the main suspect, Yusuf Muwonge, who alleged that he was coerced and tortured into making confessions.

In court, Muwonge expressed concerns, stating that his tormentors were present and had threatened his family. He acknowledged signing documents under duress. However, Justice Wabwire advised Muwonge to address these concerns through his lawyer, Anthony Asiimwe. Asiimwe informed the court that their clients had previously raised this issue in Buganda Road Court Grade One, which had directed the prison authorities to conduct medical examinations. Unfortunately, no report on this matter was found in the court file, leading Justice Wabwire to reinstate the lower court’s orders.

Initially, the prosecution attempted to oppose these orders, citing potential impacts on their case. Nonetheless, the judge warned them against disregarding the court orders, suggesting it could lead to contempt of court.

In 2022, Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Asuman Muhumuza committed the suspects for trial following investigations by the Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions. The prosecution maintains that in 2021, Uganda experienced a series of indiscriminate bomb attacks that caused fear and panic among the public. The state alleges that the purpose of these attacks was to discredit the government.

Evidence indicates that a suicide bomber detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) aboard a Swift Bus on October 25, 2021, resulting in his own death and injuries to passengers in Mpigi District. The deceased bomber had resided in a room belonging to the key suspect, Sharif Kiyemba, who is still at large. Initial investigations led to the arrest of some suspects found in possession of an IED allegedly given to them by their co-accused.

Moreover, five women have been implicated for aiding, harboring, financing, and supporting Kiyemba in preparing or committing acts of terrorism. Ismail Kiyemba confessed to creating IEDs, including the one used by the deceased suicide bomber, and confirmed that Sharif Kiyemba had hired him to build a more powerful bomb for future use. The state also claims to have sufficient evidence, such as call data and phone records, to prove that all the accused individuals were in constant communication with the three suicide bombers.

The committal papers reveal the state’s intention to use police reports and postmortem reports, demonstrating the injuries and deaths caused by the explosive devices produced by the suspects. Various exhibits, including phone handsets, flash discs, DVDs, CDs, chemicals, and electronic components, were recovered from Kiyemba’s possession for examination and analysis, which will be presented as evidence in the trial.

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