The High Court in Jinja has granted bail to 132 suspects who were arrested during the clashes between the army and Rwenzururu Kingdom guards in 2016.
Over 200 royal guards were picked and detained when the Uganda People’s Defense Forces raided Rwenzururu Kingdom palace on November 27, 2016, leading to the death of more than 100 people.
The suspects who are said to have been armed, were later detained on remand at Nalufenya Police in Jinja. later they were arraigned in court before they were sent to Kirinya and Luzira prisons. Behind-the-scenes negotiations have also been going on to have the King (Omusinga) and other suspects released.
During a special court session held in Kirinya Prison on Thursday, Jinja High Court judge Jean Rwakakoko decided to grant the suspects a 10 million non-cash bail on top of other conditions.
The suspects, 192 in total, are facing charges ranging from terrorism, treason, manslaughter, theft and others.
Although Omusinga Mumbere and other kingdom officials were later released on bail, the remaining suspects have since been on remand for more than 4 years.
The lawyers representing the suspects led by Evans Ochieng and Caleb Alaka had applied for bail for the suspects in a hearing that was held on Thursday.
The grounds for bail application were that the suspects have overstayed in detention without trial yet investigations were concluded, and on account of ill-health and their right to bail. The lawyers asked court to grant the suspects bail on condition that they regularly present themselves before local courts in Kaseese, Ntoroko, Budibujo and Kabalore.
After listening to the submissions, the judge convened a court session in Jinja at about 8PM and granted bail to the 132 suspects.
The suspects were however ordered to pay 10 million non-cash while their sureties were ordered to pay 10 million each not cash.
Justice Rwakakoko also ordered the suspects to report to courts in their respective districts of Kaseese, Ntoroko, Bundibujo and Kabalore, every last Friday of the month.
The sureties included the Rwenzururu Kingdom Prime Minister Kule Muranga Kigoma Joseph, Kingdom spokesperson Tawite Byaruhanga John, Ngasirwa Timondo Justus the Speaker of the Kingdom assembly, and the assembly secretary Maate Mugwara Isebakira.
Lawyer Evans Ochieng expressed gratitude over the relief the suspects were granted and urged government to continue engaging authorities in the Rwenzururu Kingdom to pave way for return of harmony in the region.
He however pledged that they will do every thing possible to ensure justice is served to have the other 60 remaining in detention gain freedom.
Alfred Makasi the Kingdom Attorney General asked government to grant Omusinga Charles Wesely Mumbere unlimited access to his people in Kaseese.