Three justices of the Court of Appeal have unanimously quashed the life imprisonment sentence which was handed to former Tabliq sect leader Sheikh Yunus Kamoga and others who were convicted on Terrorism charges.
On August 22, 2017, International Criminal Division judges Ezikiel Muhanguzi, Jane Kiggundu and Percy Tuhaise convicted Shiekh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga, Shiekh Sirajje Kawooya, and Shiekh Murta Mudde Bukenya to life imprisonment.
The other co-accused, Sekayanja Abdul Salim and Kakande Yusuf were sentenced to 30 years imprisonment but being dissatisfied with the ruling, they appealed against the conviction and the subsequent sentence.
In their ruling delivered on Wednesday, Court of Appeal judges led by the new Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo pointed out that it was wrong to convict the appellants without proving beyond reasonable doubt the main ingredient of Terrorism as provided for under the Anti Terrorism Act 2002.
“It appears that the learned trial judges were satisfied that the appellants had uttered the threats in a manner which was indiscriminate. We have been unable to ascertain the precise reasons why,” the judges said.
These made it clear that according to the Terrorism Act any terrorism charge must have a character of indiscriminate in effect and manner of execution but it was lacking in this matter.
The justices said that although Kakande Yusuf, the sixth appellant was pinned for distributing flyers containing three names Mustapha Bahiga, Hassan Ibrahim Kirya and Najib Sonko, the said flyers didn’t contain any threat either to attack or murder victims mentioned in the indictment.
“All in all, the convictions of all appellants for the offence of Terrorism contrary to section 7(1) and (2) (b) of the Anti Terrorism Act 2002 are quashed for reasons given above. The sentences imposed on the applicants arising from the respective convictions are set aside,” Court ruled.
The bail application which was filed before this court by Shiekh Sirajje Kawooya and Shiekh Yunus Kamoga to be released on bail pending hearing of the appeal, has been dismissed since it has been already overtaken by events.
This ruling has been welcomed by the Muslim community in the country especially Tabliqs and many have been seen jubilating in various parts of the country.