August 12, 2019
On Wednesday, 31 July 2019, armed men picked up Patrick Mugisha, a partner at Mwesige Mugisha & Co. Advocates, from his chambers in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb. Mugisha was reported missing and a victim of abduction. It turned out that for almost a week he had been held without charge at one of ISO’s notorious illegal ungazetted detention centres in Kyengera, another Kampala suburb.
The Uganda Law Society immediately went to battle for its colleague. On 3 August 2019, its president, Mr Simon Peter Kinobe, wrote a strongly-worded letter and appeared on different television channels to denounce ISO, reminding its director-general Col Kaka Bagyenda of the constitutional violation against abductions, and even of the fact ISO has no arresting powers:
“As Uganda Law Society, we cannot continue to look on as a few individuals descend our country into chaos without reprisal. We cannot be observers in the perpetration of impunity with no call to action. We accordingly call upon all lawyers to action, to prosecute both criminally and in civil court the director of ISO Col Frank Kaka Bagyenda for these acts of impunity and, to demand the immediate unconditional release of our advocates illegally arrested and detained by the said ISO. Should ISO fail to comply with our demands to unconditionally release the detained citizens by Wednesday the 7th Day of August 2019, we shall have no choice but to further escalate the matter,” he wrote.
Mr Kinobe accused Col Kaka of “acting with impunity by kidnapping, intimidating, harassing and arresting lawyers without any reason,” Mr Kinobe warned, as he denounced the illegal holding of the lawyer, “beyond the statutory period of 48 hours,” before giving Col Kaka “up to August 7th to release the lawyer or they prosecute him!”