By Stephen Kalema
Junior Internal Affairs minister, Kania Mario Obiga, wants the ’48-hour of police custody’ rule for suspects with crimes of capital nature scrapped since they require more time to investigate.
“I am one of the people that are unsatisfied with the 48-hour rule of police custody especially on capital offences since investigations of many murder cases and other serious cases are affected, ” said Obiga
48-hour of police custody is a law which provides for the production of suspects before the court of law within two days of their arrest. Ideally, no one is allowed by law to be in police cell more than 48 hours.
However, in Uganda according to the 9th annual report of Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Police has detained many suspects on capital offence for more that a month, violating this law of 48 hour rule of police custody without any authorized either motion by Members of Parliament.
According to Obiga, early release of the suspects after 48 hours is the main source of jeopardy in any investigations. He says many suspects have been killed and cases have always ended in unfair judgments.
A senior officer from Uganda Police Force who preferred anonymity told Watchdog that, police can hold accused persons in custody beyond 48 hours if they are charged for an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment such as murder or possession of firearms.
“Where we asses that there is high risk of the suspect to get out of custody or where the person is found to have committed an offence of capital, the authorities would vehemently deny the suspect to enjoy the call of this 48hour rule of custody,” he said.
Also the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola has showed his dissatisfaction towards to law.
“This the great challenge the Police encounters always especially on serious crimes where a suspect has become an enemy to the community and the whole community yearns for justice against a particular suspect in case suspect is released due to 48 hours law he can wrenched by the community which at times hardens investigations of some cases and the blame is normally put on police,” said IGP Ochola during the week
This is the second time police and Ministry of Internal affairs express their dissatisfactions of the 48 hour detention law in the public.M
In May it was publicized by the police when it was called by the members of Parliament on Human Rights to respond to the issues raised in the 9th annual report by the Uganda Human Right Commission which indicated that police had continued to abuse the 48 hour detention rule.
However, the committee furiously sent away their proposal and recommended police to equip its officer with skills enough to work out everything required to take suspects in court in the period the law provides.