Friday, June 03, 2011

Defence rejects extradition of bomb suspect to Uganda

The defence in a case in which a Kenyan national is charged with murdering 74 Ugandans on Thursday protested extradition of their client on grounds that Ugandan courts are not independent.

Mohamed Mohamed is implicated in the July 11, 2010 bombings that killed 74 people at Kampala Rugby Club and at an Ethiopian restaurant. The Somali Islamist movement Al-Shabaab took responsibility for the bombings.

Defence counsel Jethro Mwesiga told the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court that his client should not

be extradited because in Uganda he would be charged with terrorism not murder as claimed by the applicants, thus would face death penalty whereas in Tanzania he would face life imprisonment if found guilty.

"Ugandan courts are not independent in such high profile cases. For example, recently the Ugandan Bar Association went on strike because the court was ordered by the executive arm to make sure that Ugandan oppositon leader Kizza Bwesigye is not granted bail.

"Your honour, the same association in 2006 staged a strike against the rearrest of the same opposition leader after the High Court of that country had granted him bail," explained Mwesiga.

He also told the court that a lawyer from Kenya who had gone to Uganda to represent some of the accused in the bombing case was arrested by Ugandan police and included on the list of the accused.

"Recently the East Africa Law Society (EALS) opened a case against the Ugandan government for gross violation of human rights during the 'walk to work' demonstration by the opposition. These are Ugandans violating human rights of fellow Ugandans, what about foreigners like the respondent?", argued Mwesiga.

He expressed fear for the life of his client, stressing that Ugandan police are well known for their brutality.

Mwesiga told the court that the extradition was against the law because it was not certified by the Tanzanian Foreign Affairs minister, Ugandan ambassador and counsellor.

"The certificate of extradition was a mere photocopy which makes it questionable," stressed the defence.

He also argued that the extradition will be unlawful because the affidavit submitted by the Deputy Attorney General, Fredrick Ruhindi, had stated that the bomb blast was organised by Mohamed but failed to show whether the accused at any particular time travelled to Uganda.

"The prosecution had stated that the vehicle with registration number KBK 470 was used in the bomb attack but failed to prove that it belonged to the accused," noted Mwesiga. The case was adjourned to today at 9 am.

According to court reports, the accused on July 11, 2010 is alleged to have attempted to murder Ugandans by exploding bombs. On the second count on the same date, the accused is alleged to have murdered at least 74 Ugandans by bomb explosions.

SOURCE: DAILY NEWS 

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