Friday, 22 November 2013

Prisoners cry over long remand,more on http//

 A female inmate and her baby cry at Moroto Magistrate’s Court after the presiding  judge failed to turn up.

 A female inmate and her baby cry at Moroto Magistrate’s Court after the presiding judge failed to turn up.

Several prisoners on remand in Moroto Prison broke down in tears at the Chief Magistrate’s Court after the hearing of their cases was deferred due to the absence of the trial judge.
More than 70 men and women, whose cases were scheduled to be heard on Monday, protested what they termed as lengthy detention on remand. Some of the prisoners have reportedly been on remand since 2008, waiting for trial in the High Court.
Justice Isabirye Kaweesa, who was supposed to preside over the one-month High Court session in Moroto District, failed to turn up and the hearing of the inmates’ cases was deferred to January 2014.
Ms Judith Kedia, a mother of six, who has been in detention since 2008, broke down in tears after the Moroto Chief Magistrate, Mr Moses Mutazindwa Katorogo, announced that the trial judge did not come because he was busy in another criminal session in Mbale District.
“I have faced a big challenge of keeping the baby in prison and when I was brought to court, I felt that I would go home anytime,” Ms Kedia said with tears in her eyes.
“Now that there is no court, I don’t know how I will look after my baby till January,” she lamented.
Ms Kedia said she was suffering in prison because of an incident in which her neighbour’s child got burnt and she was accused of committing the crime.
Mr John Ochen, a murder suspect, said his hope of getting justice had diminished.
“We talk of people having rights to justice but I don’t think that right is still there. If courts were functioning, some of us would have got justice three years ago,” he said, amid sobs.
Mr William Awany, the officer in charge of Moroto Prison, called for speedy trials, adding that inmates had threatened to hold protests. “We thought the pressure in prison would be solved with the court trying these people who are seeking justice,” he said.