Kampala, 26/July/2012; The High Court in Kampala has released Augustine Okello from jail where he was remanded three weeks ago after failing to fulfill his bail conditions.
On the 3rd day of July 2012, Justice Lameck Mukasa granted Okello bail but set stringent conditions including depositing Eight Million Uganda Shillings cash before being released. He was also required to deposit his land title or any document showing proof of ownership of land including his passport with the Registrar of criminal division of the High Court at Kampala.
Other conditions were for him to report to the Lira District Police Commander every Monday of each week and to the Deputy Registrar of the Criminal Division of Kampala every third day of each month. His movements beyond Lira Municipality were also restricted unless with explicit permission from the Registrar of Lira High Court. Okello’s four sureties were each bonded Ten Million Shillings, non cash.
Okello told a spontaneous press conference in Kampala that he was innocent and will prove it when trial starts. “Am so delighted to be finally out, I have regained my partial freedom. I believe I am an innocent man and will prove it in court when trial begins.” He said.
Okello was a radio presenter at Rhino FM in Lira. He was kidnapped on the evening of 13th July 2011 in Lira District under unclear circumstances and detained incommunicado for more than two weeks. Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) filed for habeas corpus at the High Court in Lira which pressurized security agencies to produce him in court. He was produced and charged with treason at Buganda Road Court on 1st/Aug/2011 and committed to High Court on 6th January 2012 for trial. The matter has since then not been fixed for hearing.
“We are very delighted that Okello has finally regained his freedom. Justice delayed is justice denied”, therefore it is very crucial for the judiciary to expeditiously fix his trial and any other matters that have been pending for long without being heard in the next criminal session.” Said HRNJ-Uganda head of the legal department Catherine Anite.