State seeks protection of witnesses in Sheikhs trial

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KAMPALA.  The prosecution has asked court for protection of its five key witnesses in the trial of 14 men including the head of the Tabliq Sect Sheikh Yunus Kamoga. The 14 are accused of masterminding a wave of assassinations of rival Muslim leaders.

The prosecution led by Principal State Attorney Lino Anguzu yesterday said these key witnesses fear for their lives given the sensitivity of their evidence. Mr Anguzu asked court to order for their full protection including concealing their identity and other particulars.

“Our next five witnesses are available. However, their fear is concerning their safety and as prosecution we see credibility in their fear. We would want to pray to court that we be allowed to file a formal written application for ‘in-court protective’ measures under the rules of this court,” Mr Anguzu submitted before seeking court to hear the prosecution’s application on Thursday.

The International Crimes Division of the High Court, which is conducting the trial, allowed the prosecution to file their application formally before close of business today.

The trial is before a panel of three justices led by Ezekiel Muhanguzi.

The court ruled that in case the defence lawyers were not opposed, the prosecution would be allowed to file their application on condition that they serve the defence team a copy tomorrowand that they present their witnesses on Thursday when the application will be heard.

Sheikh  Kamoga and the 13 others are on trial for alleged murder, attempted murder and terrorism against Sheikhs Bahiga, Abdulkadir Muwaya, Dr Jemba and Omulangira (prince) Kassim Nakibinge between December 2013 and June 2015 in Kampala, Wakiso and Mayuge Districts.  

Sheikh Kamoga is jointly accused with Sheikh Siraj Kawooya, Sekayanja Abdulsalaam alias Kassim Mulumba, Sematimba Abdulhamid Mubiru, Jingo Rashid, Sekito Twaha, Kakande Yusuf alias Abdallah and Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya.

Others are Hakim Kinene Muswaswa, Amir Kinene, Sheikh Kalungi Fahad, Hamuza Kasirye, Musa Issa Mubiru and Iga George William alias Hamuza.                 

Prosecution has so far presented 27 witnesses who have testified against the suspects.

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