The ULS is deeply concerned with the continued illegal arrest and detention of Advocates by the law enforcement agencies. The latest of these is the arrest of Advocate Nicholas Opiyo, the Executive Director of Chapter Four Uganda, who was picked up on December 22, 2020 from Kamwokya at Lamaro Restaurant by alleged law enforcement officers dressed in plain clothes. It is revealed that the details of his whereabouts are currently unknown without any information on preferred charges against him and neither has he been brought to court.
The abduction from Kamwokya and the incommunicado detention of Nicholas Opiyo is high handed and unnecessary. He could have been summoned through his usual address or ULS. The security agencies that arrested him should therefore respect his basic civil liberties including access to lawyers, medical personnel and family. They should respect the privacy and property rights of his phones and car which is yet to be accounted for.
Detaining a citizen incommunicado is illegal and unconstitutional. Nicholas Opiyo should be immediately and unconditionally released.
Article 23 of the Constitution of Uganda grants suspects under detention a right to be brought before court not later than 48 hours from the time of their arrest. This right should not be violated regardless of the excuse. Also, those arrested should be detained in areas gazetted by law .
Adv. Nicholas Opiyo’s right to have access to an advocate of his choice has to be respected. His right to know the charges preferred against him should also be respected in the same spirit. His right to police bond should also be respected as well as the 48 -hour rule should be respected as allowed by law, and the ULS highly condemns this act.
The ULS pledges to follow this matter keenly to ensure that justice is done and the perpetrator(s) are brought to book.
For God and My Country.
PHEONA WALL President