By Hawa Mudondo
The International Crimes Division of the High Court (ICD) has ruled that Sheikh Yunus Kamoga, the leader of the Tabliq sect and 13 other people, on trial for the murder of Muslim clerics, have a case to answer.
A panel of three justices Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Jane Kiggundu and Percy Tuhaise unanimously agreed that prosecution had presented sufficient evidence to warrant defence from the accused persons.
While reading out the ruling that took about five minutes, Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi, the lead judge on the three-member panel said: “The prosecution has established a prema-facie case against each of them in respect of each of the four counts. Consequently, court passing on section 73 (2) of the Trial and Indictments Act, hereby informs the accused persons of their rights to give evidence on his or her own behalf, make unsworn statement or to call witnesses in his or her defence. That is the ruling.”
The 14 suspects and others still at large are accused of directing systematic attacks against the top Shia leader and Tabliq Muslims, in which several clerics were killed.
Prosecution alleges that the acts of the accused persons caused the death of Bahiga Mustapha, who was shot dead at Bwebajja along Entebbe Road; Sheikh Abdulqadir Muwaya, who was shot in Mayuge District and Ibrahim Hassan Kirya, who was killed in Bweyogerere, a suburb of Kampala among others.
After the ruling, the defence lawyers represented by Fred Muwema, told court that they needed more time to consult their clients on how they would give their defence.
The suspects were then returned to Luzira and Kigo prisons for further remand until April 25, 2017 when they are slated to commence their defence.
But on their way out of the courthouse, their relatives, who had crammed the courthouse and the outside, cheered them as they left amidst tight security.