Legislators Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya have asked the International Crimes Division of the High Court to halt their trial for terrorism charges pending the determination of the Constitutional petition challenging the legality of the charges against them.
The main case was expected to continue today with the further marking of exhibits of the evidence the Prosecutors intend to rely on to pin the MPs and four others for the charges that stem from machete killings that rocked the greater Masaka district in 2021 leaving more than 20 people dead and scores injured.
However, the MPs told the High Court Judge Alice Komuhangi Khaukha that they needed to be guided on how to proceed with the main case since they had filed a constitutional petition and came with an application seeking to stay the pretrial hearing of the case.
Although the Prosecution led by Richard Birivumbuka was ready to proceed, the Court heard that the accused persons are being subjected to almost similar proceedings in two different courts in Kampala and Masaka with an almost similar set of facts. A similar application was filed by lawyer Male Mabirizi on the basis that the splitting of the charges in two different courts was tantamount to political persecution.
Defence lawyer Evans Ochieng said that his clients have petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking to halt the trial because they were tortured in the process of being re-arrested after being granted bail and as such, their human rights were infringed upon.
But the other four accused persons through their lawyer Wilbert Muhereza were opposed to the adjournment saying they have spent one year and nine months in prison without being granted bail and they are therefore entitled to a speedy trial. The four who include Jackson Kanyike, John Mugerwa, Bull Wamala, and Mike Sserwadda were further remanded to Luzira Prison
The Judge has fixed April 3, 2023, for the next hearing of the case and directed the parties to be present and agree on whether to have the two applications for stay of proceedings consolidated or heard separately.