By Otushabire Tibyangye
High court in Mbarara presided over by the resident judge justice Joyce Kavuma has ordered for filing of written submissions into a case in which Monitor publications limited journalist Mr Rumanzi Perez accuses police officers of assault on duty demanding for dismissal, compensation and personal liability for the act.
Rumanzi through his lawyers Bwagi and Co advocates under the Humana rights network for journalists Uganda filled a miscellaneous application at Mbarara high court following an incident on April 28 2016 where he alleges he was beaten by the two officers while covering an incident involving arrest of former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye at Ntungamo police station.
Court today morning ordered for scheduling of the submissions including evidence into the case that shall begin with the applicants on October 10 and later a reply by the respondents on November 12 followed by a rejoinder to the applications on November 26 after which there will be a ruling on the matter.
Justice Kavuma scheduled the case despite opposition from the respondent counsel Byarugaba Peter through other lawyers since he who was not present in court together with the respondents. He said staying the application for long may have more implications.
Counsel for the applicant Bwagi Jonathan applied for scheduling of the case sighting long period of stay which was granted by court.
In the application, Rumanzi who is also the president of the LIONS club of Ntungamo accuses former Kabale district police commander Mr Bindeba Dickens and former Kigezi regional police operations commander Mr Asiimwe Abraham Bravo for assaulting him while on his official duty, damaging his camera and stealing his memory cards in the phone and camera lowering his public reputation.He seeks that court declared the two and others in the case personal liable for the incident, that on losing be declared incompetent to hold nay public office and be dismissed from police in public interest, He wants also to be compensated for general damages and his equipment that was destroyed.
Speaking shortly after the court session, Mr Bwagi said the scheduling for written submission is a gstep forward in the hearing of the case as this is the only requirement in such miscellaneous application and evidence given is enough for the applicant to win or lose the case.
“We are happy that the judge has found it prudent to have the case scheduled for submissions, this is a big achievement because the case has dragged on for a long time since 2016. We hope this will take this short time and the case shall be concluded.”Some of the key witnesses include FDC national mobilization secretary Ms Ingrid Turinawe, Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume Kaginda, Kampala Lord Mayor Mr Elias Lukwago and Former Presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye.
Recently the Inspector General of police Okoth Ochola warned poplice officers against torture of suspects and once found guilty would be personally held liable.
He says as police they do not condone torture as an institution. If found guilty, the duo will be held responsible for compensating Mr Rumanzi