Monday September 26, 2016
Somali nationals accused of terrorism in the dock at the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala on Monday. Photo by Michael Kakumirizi
The judge presiding over the case in which eight Somali nationals are accused of aiding and abetting the Al-shabab to carry out a second bomb attack in Kampala has warned that she will release the suspects if the state is not ready to prosecute them.
Justice Elizabeth Nyahamya of the International Crimes Division of the High Court was moved by the defence lawyers’ submission in which they objected to further adjournment of the case sought by prosecution.
Prosecution led by Rachael Bikoli asked court for an adjournment till December 15 when they will be ready.
However, defence raised objections saying the suspects who include Mohamed Abdulkadir Hirsi alias Mohamed Abdul Aziz Adan, Abdi Abdullahi Bootan, Hassan Abduwali Mohamoud, Mohamed Ahmed Gele, Yusuf Osman Hussein, Abdi Ali, Abdul Kadir Mohamed Mohamud Sandir and Mohamad Yusuf Farah have been on remand for two years and that they were committed for trial on April 18, 2015 when the state claimed it had completed its investigation into the case.
In response, state said it had new evidence pinning the suspects and therefore needed more time to complete all the investigations.To this, the judge said: "From your own mouth, commit yourself on the date when we shall start hearing the case. I will not give deadline but if you will not be ready by that time (December 15), then it will mean you don’t have any evidence against the suspects and therefore I will be compelled to release them.”
Defence lawyer Edwin Tabaro said the accused have spent a long time on remand and therefore deserve justice because they are merely suspects in the case.
They were arrested in September 2014 from a Hotel in Kisenyi- Kampala after a tip off by residents to police that the accused were allegedly coordinating activities and rendering support to Al-shabab/al-Qaeda.
Prosecution states that the group and others still at large, during September 2014 in various places in Uganda, Kenya and Somalia aided and abetted or rendered support to the Al-Shabaab Islamist group knowing and having reason to believe that the support rendered would be applied and used for or in connection with preparation and commission of terrorism.
It is also alleged that the group between 2010 and 2014 belonged to Al-Qaeda, a terrorist organisation listed under the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002 of Uganda.