Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana’s trial: State Prosecutor claims he is receiving death threats

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Masaka Resident State Attorney Richard Birivumbuka told court on Wednesday that he has been receiving death threats, allegedly over his role in the prosecution of Members of Parliament Mohammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana.

During court proceedings, Birivumbuka told Masaka Grade One Magistrate Philip Nzwebe that he and his family have received death threats from people he claims are connected to the two opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) MPs.

Birivumbuka is the lead prosecutor in the trial of Ssegirinya Mohammad and Allan Ssewanyana who are facing charges of terrorism and murder which they allegedly committed between July and August last year.

Although Birivumbuka declined to divulge details, he requested the court to intervene and instruct the MPs to reign over their supporters by cautioning them to stop sending out the threats.

However, when asked to respond to Birivumbuka’s claims, the suspects feigned ignorance about the allegations, arguing that the state could be using it as a tactic to justify their continued detention. The MPs also reiterated their plea for court to order the prison authorities to transfer them from Kigo prison to another facility, on account of alleged mistreatment.

Their lawyer, Shamim Malende, told court that while she sympathizes with the State Attorney about the threats, he should now join the voices that have always asked the government to conduct sensitization of the citizens about their rights, obligations, and roles of the different stakeholders in the judicial system.

In his ruling, Magistrate Philip Nzwebe asked the State Attorney to report the threats to police and if necessary apply for security to ensure he is safe.

Mag. Nzwebe also issued orders to the prisons authorities to stop any forms of mistreatment against the suspects and ordered the state to provide the court with a status of the health of the MPs on February 2, when they are expected to return to court.

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