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Kiryandongo Police Asked to Halt Arbitrary Arrests of Lawyers

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Addressing journalists at Makerere University Guest House on Thursday, Arthur Nsereko, the Coordinator NETPIL, says the interference of police in the work of lawyers violates the rights of persons to legal representation and sets a bad precedent for the country.
02 Jul 2020 18:05
Elizabeth Nafula, One of the seven lawyers who were arrested in kiryandongo

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Police in Kiryandongo district are under the spotlight for the arbitrary arrest and detention of advocates representing victims of illegal land evictions conducted during the COVID-19 lockdown.  

The Network of Public Interest Lawyers-NETPPIL accuses police in the district of arresting seven lawyers from Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates on Tuesday this week while interviewing the evictees.  

The affected lawyers are Ezron Kaijuka, Christine Maruga, Joan Bulyerali, Brian Tuwayenga, Erick Bajole, Morgan Muhindo and Elizabeth Nafula. They were also arrested together with their clients including Samuel Paul Namanya, Sylvester Tumusiime, Eria Sanyu and Rogers Byaruhanga among others.

Th evictions took place in  Kikungulu, Kimugongoro, Kamusenene and  Kapapula villages.

Addressing journalists at Makerere University Guest House on Thursday, Arthur Nsereko, the Coordinator NETPIL, says the interference of police in the work of lawyers violate the rights of persons to legal representation and sets a bad precedent for the country.     

//Cue in; Tukubira omulanga eri   

Cue out...omulimu gwebasomerera.”//

According to Nsereko, they have received credible information indicating that police in Kiryandongo has declined to register the complaints of the evicted families while simultaneously registering and believing those behind the evictions.

“This has resulted in the community yielding to homelessness, desperation and hopelessness as they have nowhere to run to when their evictors commit crimes against them including torture, malicious damage to property, assault among others,” he said.

 

Morgan Muhindo, one of those who were arrested, says they were charged them with spreading an infectious disease under unclear reason.

//Cue in; Twagendayo nga tulina…   

Cue out… sure we observed.”//  

Muhindo noted that their arrest by Kiryandongo police sparked protests from human rights defenders, advocates, civil society actors and locals who accused police of backing the illegal evictions. 

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Regional Police Spokesperson told URN that the lawyers were released and hanged up.  

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