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Prisoners Can Access their Lawyers During Lockdown – Court Rules

High court judge Michael Elubu has ruled that lawyers should be allowed to access their clients who are detained in various facilities during the ongoing lockdown period.

This followed an application filed by Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) challenging the act of denying a group of inmates at Kitalya Prison access to their lawyers.

The 9 inmates were arrested in Nkokonjeru, Kyengera Wakiso district congested in one house. They are accused of committing an act likely to cause the spread of an infectious disease.

These decided to petition court after they spent more than a month unable to get legal representation.

In his ruling, the judge ruled this action was a violation of the accused persons’ rights as provided for under Article 28(3) (c) and Article 44 (c) of the Constitution.

He ordered the Prisons Authority to put in place prevention measures against COVID19 but in respect of Human Rights.

“Ability to meet with legal counsel must be maintained and Prison or detention authorities should ensure that lawyers can speak with their lawyers confidentially.”

Court also awarded each of the nine people five million shillings each in damages.

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Dr.  Edrian Jjuuko the Executive Director Human Rights Awareness and Promotions Forum described this ruling as a big milestone which is going to help many people who had taken long without getting in touch with their lawyers.

 

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