Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jane Frances Abodo has denied that the state abused and tortured satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija whilst in detention.
The DPP has asked Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court to dismiss an application in which satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija wants his passport returned.
On Tuesday 1, February 2022, Kakwenza who is facing charges of offensive communication, through his lawyers led by Eron Kiiza made five requests before court presided over by the Chief Magistrate Dr. Douglas Singiza including to return his passport to enable him to attend an event in Germany.
His passport was deposited with the court last week as one of the bail conditions when he was charged for having allegedly used his Twitter handle, @KakwenzaRukira to disturb the peace of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son Lt General Muhoozi Kainerugaba on December 26 and 28, 2021.
Besides asking for the return of the passport, Kakwenza also asked the court to quash the charge sheet forming the offenses against him on grounds that it lacks focus and precision since it doesn’t show exactly the offensive words that he reportedly put on his Twitter handle.
The court was also asked to quash the charges on grounds that the court has no jurisdiction to try them because the prosecutors do not exactly state where Kakwenza allegedly committed the crimes from.
Further, they asked Buganda Road Court to refer the case file to the High Court and stay the proceedings at Buganda Road Court until the High Court determines whether Kakwenza’s rights were violated (tortured) at the time he was in detention by the beatings that resulted in wounds, broken legs and scars.
But the Chief Magistrate Singiza ordered them to make written submissions.
However, in the submissions by the prosecutors which this publication has seen, they have submitted to the court a letter written by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jane Frances Abodo to the Attorney General seeking his advice on the issue of returning Kakwenza’s passport saying that previously, they have not had applications related to his request involving foreign missions.
The DPP says that they received a copy of a letter addressed to the Chief Magistrate from the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in which they were asking the court to allow Kakwenza to attend an event where he will be appointed an Honorary Member of Pen Center.
But the prosecutors say the Attorney General has not yet responded to them.
On the issue seeking to have charges dismissed, the office of the DPP contends that the law does not require them to include the actual offensive words and how they affected the victims saying that it’s an issue that will be adduced during evidence.
They also contend that by the time Kakwenza reportedly committed the crimes, he was in Kampala and his MTN phone number shows based on the call data on the dates in question.
According to the office of the DPP, they also deny allegations that Kakwenza was tortured on grounds that the medical reports Kakwenza attached to his application do not draw any medical conclusions that his current state of health resulted from torture after his arrest while in detention.
“The medical reports also does not give a period within which the injuries resulting into the noted scars could have occurred. It is therefore speculation by the defense attorneys to conclude that the accused (Kakwenza) was tortured and developed all the listed injuries during detention,” reads in part the state submissions.
However, the Chief Magistrate did not deliver the ruling saying that the parties had made lengthy submissions which required him to have sufficient time to read through them in order to make an appropriate decision. He adjourned the case to February 8, 2022.
One of Kakwenza’s lawyers, Nalukoola Luyimbazi said that the charges against him are baseless and unfounded.