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Ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate remanded to Luzira prison over ADF terror links

Jamal Kiyemba

Jamal Kiyemba

Jamal Kiyemba alias Tonny Kiyemba, the Imam of Masjid Taqwa Zana in Kirimanyanga Zone in Makindye Ssabagabo Division, Wakiso district has appeared charged and remanded on allegations of belonging to the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The prosecution told Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s court presided over by Dr Douglas Singiza, that between 2021 and January 2022 while in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate in Cuba, together with others still at large, belonged or professed to belong to ADF, a designated terror organization.

Singiza didn’t allow Kiyembe to plead to the charges on grounds that his court lacks jurisdiction to try capital offences. He informed Kiyemba that he will be tried by the High court, which also has the mandate to entertain his bail application should he be interested in gaining temporary freedom.  

However, Kiyemba through his lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima argued that the Chief Magistrate’s court has the jurisdiction to try his offence under the law. In his response, the magistrate said that he was trying to be careful and asked Turyamusiima to write to him officially quoting the specific laws. Accordingly, he remanded him to Luzira prison until May 16, 2022 as investigations continued. 

According to Kiyemba's lawyer, his client was picked up from the Old Taxi Park in Kampala in January 2022 but the records before the court show that he was arrested from DRC and detained at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) in Mbuya. The available information shows that Kiyemba went to the United Kingdom in 1998 at the age of 20 years to study for a degree in pharmacy.

He was however arrested in Pakistan in 2002 together with a US operative and suspected Al qaeda terrorists while trying to enter Afghanistan. Kiyemba was reportedly born Anthony Kiyemba and converted to Islam following his father's death and changed his name to Jamal Kiyemba. According to online sources, he was granted an indefinite stay in Britain before he ended up in Pakistan. 

He was then detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for four years before being released in 2006 after Muslim activists intervened on his behalf. Records further show that Kiyemba was later released and compensated with a whopping one million Euros (Shs 3.7 billion) worth of British taxpayer's money for false imprisonment and human rights abuse before being deported to Uganda. 

The records also show that Kiyemba was subsequently arrested in Uganda in April 2015 in relation to the murder of state attorney Joan Namazzi Kagezi on March 30, 2015. Unknown assassins riding on motorcycles gunned down Kagezi on her way home in Kiwatule, a Kampala City suburb. Despite the arrest of several suspects, none has been tried successfully and convicted for the murder. 

Recently, President Yoweri Museveni directed the attorney general to work on the extradition of Kagezi’s killers despite the fact he failed short of mentioning their names and where they are found.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd