NUP Supporters No-Show in Army Court Due to Red-Eye Disease

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At least 8 out of 32 National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters facing trial in the General Court Martial in Makindye have been infected by red eye disease. 

The accused are charged with unlawful possession of explosive devices and on Monday were expected to return to court for the prosecution to present additional witnesses. However, during the roll call before the court, presided over by a seven-member panel led by chairperson Brig Robert Mugabe, some of the accused individuals were absent.

The suspects are Rashid Segujja, Abdu Matovu, Sharif Kalanzi, Musa Kavuma, Jimmy Galukande, Paul Muwanguzi, Sharif Matovu, and Livingston Katushabe. Prison officials informed the court that the suspects could not appear in court on Monday because they were undergoing treatment for the contagious eye disease. Journalists were not allowed to access the court premises.

Our reporter has learned from sources that there is a standing order preventing prisoners with the contagious red-eye disease from being taken to court. Initially, the accused were a group of 32 people, but four were granted bail last month, leaving 28 on trial. The remaining suspects have made two unsuccessful bail applications since then.

The accused were arrested by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) operatives after the police accused them of plotting petrol bomb attacks targeting government vehicles and buildings across the country. 

Police claimed that the suspects masterminded attacks on Kasubi Royal Tombs, former Jinja resident city commissioner Eric Sakwa in Nakulabye, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, and Katwe police station, among others. They were reportedly planning to block President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni from being sworn in for his sixth term of office. 

The prosecution had lined up Sakwa as one of the witnesses to testify on Monday. In 2021, the Constitutional Court, in a 3-2 judgment, ruled that it was illegal to try civilians in military courts and ordered that existing cases and trials be transferred to civilian courts.

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