On October 30, the nine suspects facing trial for the 2018 abduction and murder of Susan Magara, a cashier at Bwendero Dairy Farm, raised concerns about their ability to stand trial due to alleged hunger. However, the Uganda Prisons have contested these claims, asserting that the accused had received meals on the day in question.
The suspects, through their legal representatives, informed the court that they were not in a condition to participate in the trial as they had missed supper on Monday and breakfast on Tuesday before attending the court proceedings.
Nevertheless, prison authorities have contradicted these allegations. Frank Mayanja Baine, the senior commissioner of prisons, clarified that upon returning from court on October 30 at 8:10 pm, the suspects were provided with dinner. The following day, around 6:30 am, they had breakfast alongside other inmates before being brought to court.
Baine further disclosed that the accused individuals had received visits from several individuals whose names were recorded in the prison visitor’s book. These visitors were identified as Unusu Kato, Mariam Nakalega, Madinal Nansubuga, Aisha Nalubega, Robinah Nakonde, Haruna Lukwago, Abubakar Lukayiya, Umaru Ssebuguzi, and Ronald Kimera.
He emphasized that the allegations of starvation were unfounded, stating that the Uganda Prisons Service strictly adheres to the Mandela Rules, which are international standards for the treatment of offenders across the country.
This statement from prison authorities comes just a day after the High Court adjourned further hearings of the prosecution evidence to November 7.
The nine suspects are facing charges that include two counts of murder and kidnap with the intent to demand a ransom, as stipulated by the Penal Code Act. They have all pleaded not guilty to these charges.
The accused individuals are as follows:
- Usafi Mosque Imam Mahad Kasalita, aged 32
- Yusuf Lubega, a 32-year-old boda-boda rider
- Hussein Wasswa, a 22-year-old hawker
- Muzamiru Ssali, a 27-year-old boda-boda rider
- Hajara Nakandi, a 35-year-old teacher
- Abubaker Kyewolwa, a 30-year-old businessman
- Hassan Kato Miiro, 22 years old
- Ismail Bukenya, a businessman
- Musa Abbas Buvumbo, 23 years old
The prosecution, led by Irene Nakimbugwe and Joseph Kyomuhendo, alleges that on February 7, 2018, the accused suspects, along with others who remain at large, kidnapped Susan Magara with the intent of obtaining a ransom or benefiting from her release to avoid her murder. Tragically, Susan Magara was later discovered murdered.