Uganda: 28 human rights defenders face criminal charges after farm worker dies in violent clashes over alleged forced eviction
"The Criminal trial of the 28 land rights defenders is set to resume today"
Virtually three weeks after an abrupt break, the criminal trial for the 28 land rights defenders is resuming today, January 8th, 2020 at Mubende High Court before the visiting judge Justice Anthony Oyuko Ojoko, co-opted from Arua High Court...Grace Nantubiro and Ronald Mugwabya are among the 28 land defenders and also members of witnessradio.org. They were arrested because of being on the frontline defending over 3000 people from were being violently evicted by local businessman George Kaweesi. Kaweesi was shielded by police and the due process was never followed. Their pleas fell on deaf ears until a violent crash ensued between the communities and the workers of a businessman that claimed a life of one Yunus Kasajja. Kasajja had been tasked by Kaweesi to supervise the eviction exercise...
Lately, the land-grabbing elements have resorted to using the Penal Code to charge land defenders because the law is lethal. It imposes harsher prison sentences than any other and also obtaining bail once charged under it is either legally hard or too expensive for the rural communities in Uganda. These persecutions are manifesting majorly in districts that host minerals including sub-regions of Karamoja, Bunyoro and Buganda.