Uganda: Eight defenders iin Kiryandongo released on bail

The eight land rights defenders outside Kiryandongo Magistrate court. Upper Row: From left to right, Talemwa Eliot, Martin Haweka, Wafula Amos,  and Martin Munyansia. Lower Row: From left to right;  Ndahimana Ramu, Kusiima Samuel, Rwakabisha George, and Mwawula Fred. | 19 October 2020

Eight defenders iin Kiryandongo released on bail

By Team
Kiryandongo – Uganda – a magistrate court in Kiryandongo district has released the eight (8) land rights defenders on bail, after spending 30 days on remand at Masindi prison.
Mwawula Fred, Ndahimana Ramu, Kusiima Samuel, Martin Munyansia, Martin Haweka, Wafula Amos, and Talemwa Eliot and Rwakabisha George were charged with threatening violence on September, 16th, 2020 before being remanded to prison. The charge carries four-year imprisonment on conviction.
The prosecution alleges that on September, 4th 2020 the eight and others at large while at Kisalanda, threatened to harm a police officer and workers of Great Season SMC limited.
Great Season SMC Limited, owned by a Sudanese businessman based in Dubai together is one of the multinational companies illegally evicting over 35000 people off the 10,000 Ha in Kiryandongo district for several agribusiness investments. Other Multinationals include; Agilis Partners Limited owned by US businessmen and backed by several foreign development agencies and “social impact” investors and Kiryandongo Sugar Limited owned by a Mauritius-based RAI family.
The Kiryandongo Magistrate court, released the eight (8) on a noncash bail of UGX 700,000 while their sureties were conditioned UGX 1,000,000 not cash.
The prosecution informed court that investigations were done and the criminal trial is scheduled to take off on November, 12th, 2020.
Days before the illegal arrest and detention of the 8 defenders, NGOs including Witness Radio – Uganda, GRAIN, and Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa released a Kiryandongo report “landgrabs at gunpoint”, which exposed gross human rights violations and abuses committed by security agencies and 3 multinationals against communities. The motive for persecution is regarded as retaliation from district security agencies and multinational companies pinned in the report.
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