“Where’s Justin Jjuuko?”: State Again Fails To Produce Pugilist In Court

The State has once again failed to produce award-winning pugilist Justin Jjuuko in court in a habeas corpus application filed by human rights lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde filed through the Centre for Legal Aid.

Although the State Attorneys told court after a long adjournment that he is being detained at Kitalya Government Prison, the presiding judge Justice Musa Ssekaana adjourned the case to 8th January 2021 at 9:40 am for confirmation of this information.

On Monday 28 December 2020, the Attorney General’s representatives told the High Court in Kampala that the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party coordinator for Greater Masaka Region Justin Juuko was remanded after being charged in a military court with treachery and illegal possession of firearms.

However, the government lawyers didn’t indicate the exact detention facility to which the former boxing champion had been remanded.

According to the evidence tendered before High Court Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana on Monday by the Attorney General’s representatives, Juuko, also known as “The Destroyer,” was arrested on December 12 from Kyazanga and reportedly charged by the Unit Disciplinary Committee-UDC of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.

The documentary evidence tabled during the hearing of an application demanding Jjuuko’s whereabouts and unconditional release indicates that Jjuuko was charged with treachery and being in illegal possession of firearms. The document shows that Juuko is now waiting to be tried by the General Court Martial but avails no evidence of where he was remanded to.

The military prosecutors allege that the 48-year old who is a resident of Nabbingo in Wakiso District and a member of the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party was found training and mobilising youth groups from Kyengera, Kamengo, Lukaya, Masaka, Kyabakuza and Lyantonde on how to use martial arts, small arms like pistols and Sub Machine Guns and catapults against Ugandans after January 14, 2021, presidential election.

It is also alleged that Jjuuko was found with a numberless Star Pistol with seven rounds of ammunition which he was using it to train the said groups of youth yet the said pistol is ordinarily a monopoly of the Defense Forces. All the crimes were reportedly committed in Kyazanga, Lwengo District.

These details were in an affidavit by Mark Muwonge, a State Attorney in the Attorney General’s chambers. In the affidavit, Muwonge stated that Jjuuko shouldn’t be released unconditionally since he is already charged by a court. Muwonge was responding to the application filed last week by the Deputy Secretary-General of FDC Harold Kaija who asked the court to release Jjuuko on grounds that his constitutional right to liberty had been violated.

The FDC party went to court after Jjuuko and another coordinator Garypo Mayanja spent close two weeks in a detention centre without being produced before any court of law contrary to the constitutional provision which limits detention without trial to 48 hours.

Mayanja was however on December 22, 2020, released on police bond by the Special Investigations Department of Police in Kireka on charges of inciting violence.

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