The High court has issued an order quashing the charges and proceedings in the Military Court Martial against former commander of the Police Professional Standards Unit Joel Aguma.
The court also awarded Aguma a compensation of Shs 200 million for the trauma caused by his arrest, detention and prosecution before the military court.
Aguma together with seven other suspects are facing charges of kidnap, illegal repatriation of refugees and being in unlawful possession of military weapons. In her ruling, High court Judge Margret Oumo Oguli ordered for Aguma's immediate release from military custody. This was in response to an application seeking to restrain the Military Court from trying the senior police officer.
"Instead it is ordered that the Professional Standards Unit of the police should investigate the charge and prosecute the applicant," read the ruling in part.
According to Aguma's lawyer Caleb Alaka, the ruling was based on the fact that the Court Martial has no jurisdiction in cases involving police officers and also that a police officer cannot be charged with unlawful possession of military stores.
"The court quashed those charges yesterday and ordered for his immediate release," Alaka told URN.
Aguma was in 2013 suspended from the force and an investigation instituted by the Professional Standards Unit over the same case which he and seven others are now being tried for. In his affidavit to the High court, Aguma says, he was thoroughly investigated, tried and sentenced to a caution by the Police Council.
Justice Oguli says the trial of Aguma in the General Court Martial would constitute a double punishment given that he has been tried by another wing on an armed force.
The seven other suspects charged together with Aguma in the Court Martial include: former head of the Special Operations Unit Nixon Agasirwe, Faisal Katende an operative of the Flying Squad, Sgt Abel Tumukunde also of Flying Squad, James Magada who works with Crime Intelligence, Amon Kwarisima, Rene Rutangira a Rwandan national and Bahati Mugenga a Congolese national.
They are accused of kidnapping Lt Joel Mutabazi a former bodyguard of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame who had come to Uganda as a political refugee together with a one Jackson Kalemire and handing them over to the Rwandan government unlawfully.
The prosecution alleges that on October 13, 2013, in Kamengo, Mpigi district kidnapped Mutabazi and Kalemire and illegally repatriates them to Rwanda.
Mutabazi was later arraigned in court, accused of terrorism, setting up an armed group, spreading rumours with the intention of inciting the public to rise up against the state, murder, crimes against the state, illegal possession of a firearm and deserting the military.
Just yesterday, the eight suspects were charged with fresh charges of being in possession of military stores. The prosecution alleged that Agasirwe, Aguma and the other six suspects were found in possession of grenades which are ordinarily a reserve of the armed forces in Najeera, Wakiso district in October 2017.