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Lawyer Mabirizi case stalls over hunger

by Editorial Team
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By Farooq Kasule  
Jailed lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi on Tuesday failed to proceed with the hearing of the offensive communication case against him saying he was hungry. 
Appearing before Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Sanula Nambozo, the visibly emotional Mabirizi told the court that he was not in a proper state of body and mind to proceed with the case having purportedly slept on empty stomach the previous night. 
“Your worship, the whole of yesterday, I did not eat anything up to now and I am on empty stomach. On my return from High Court yesterday (Monday), I was immediately transferred to Luzira Maximum Prison despite having been remanded to Kitalya prison,” Mabirizi said. 
Mabirizi explained that the situation is worse at Luzira prison because of the alleged poor hygiene. 
“There is no mattress and the hygiene is generally very poor and I fear for my life because I am likely to die if this court does not do anything on this,” Mabirizi said. 
The visibly dejected Mabirizi said he left all his food at Kitalya including boxes of biscuits and that he had paid for food for ten days and also paid sh7,000 for chapati and it is proper that he is returned to Kitalya. 
Mabirizi said he is most likely to die at Luzira Maximum Prison if his prayer to be returned to Kitalya is not granted because he feels his right to life is being threatened. 
State Attorneys Ivan Kyazze and Joan Keko were expected to make a reply to Mabirizi’s objection in regard to takeover of the matter by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). 
Commenting on the development, Keko told court that Mabirizi’s prayer arises from a civil matter from the High Court-Civil Division and therefore it would not be proper for them to concede to his request or object to it.  
“He is on remand because of a civil matter, it would require that it goes back to the High Court and Attorney General responds to it,” Keko submitted. 
Magistrate fails to give a ruling  
Following the development, the magistrate took a break saying she was going to write her ruling.  
Two hours later, the Magistrate returned to the court and said she was unable to deliver it because she got caught up with other matters.  
She thus asked Mabirizi to bear with the Court and return court on April 14, 2022 for the decision in regard to his application to be returned to Kitalya prison. 
Prison speaks out  
When contacted Frank Baine, the prison spokesperson said under the Uganda Prisons Services Act, the discretion to transfer an inmate from one prison to another either for security or medical reasons rests in the hands of the Commissioner General of Prisons, Andrew Byabashaija. 
“When a prisoner goes to court, they do not budget for them lunch that day and that Mabirizi could have been brought to Luzira at the time when other inmates had finished eating,” Baine said. 
Mabirizi is currently serving an 18-month jail term imposed on him by Justice Ssekaana for insulting him on social media platforms attributed to him (Mabirizi). 
The case   
Despite being convicted over contempt of court by the judge, his rival lawyer Robert Rutaro Muheirwe opened the charge of offensive communication against him. 
Rutaro accuses Mabirizi of allegedly insulting Justice Ssekaana among other Judicial officers via his social media account. 
Rutaro and Mabirizi rivalry originates from the case in which the two had separately opened against the Pastor Aloysius Bugingo and his fiancé Susan Makula relating bigamy.    
The two were involved in a bitter exchange over the matter and hence their rivalry.  Ends 

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