High Court Judge Elizabeth Kabanda has pulled out of the case in which nine suspects are charged with the murder and kidnap of Susan Magara, a 28 year old cashier of Bwendero Dairy Farm, URN reports.
The late Susan Magara was kidnapped on February 7, along Kabaka Anjagala road in Mengo on her way to her apartment in Lungujja and held captive for three weeks. Later her body was found in Kitiko village between Kajjansi and Kigo along the Entebbe Express highway.
He kidnappers had demanded for a ransom of USD 1 million about (3.5 billion Shillings) from her father, John Magara. The family had reportedly paid a ransom of 700 million Shillings to the kidnappers prior to her death.
In the aftermath, police arrested scores of people from Usafi Mosque who were later charged before Buganda Road Court for murder and kidnapping with intentions of seeking ransom. They include Mahad Kasalita, Yusuf Lubega, Hussein Wasswa, Muzamiru Ssali, Hajara Nakandi, Abubaker Kyewolwa, Hassan Kato Miiro, Ismail Bukenya, and Musa Abbas Buvumbo.
The suspects were later committed to the High Court Criminal Division for trial. But High Court Criminal Division Judge Kabanda today pulled out of the matter citing conflict of interest.
Kabanda stated that she had known one of the accused persons, Hajara Nakandi for the last 35 years and she wouldn’t be able to provide justice in the case. Kabanda did not divulge details about her relationship with Nakandi. She sent the file back to the High Court Registrar who re-allocated it to Justice Jane Francis Abodo
Meanwhile, Lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, who is handling this application on behalf of the suspects, has said that a team of Medics from African Center for Torture Victims is on standby to examine them once the application is allowed. This follows reports that the suspects were tortured while under police custody.