Nagirinya Murder Trial: Key Suspect Accuses Police of Torture

Comporiyamu Kasolo alias Arsenal, 32, the prime suspect in the kidnap and murder of former social worker Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa has accused police officers of torturing him while in custody. Kasolo was picked up together with 8 others in connection to the duo’s kidnap and murder in 2019.

The other suspects included Raymond Marcos Okori, Isaac Ssenabulya alias Kisunsu, John Kisekka alias Manumanu, John Lubega aka Barros, Hasan Kisekka, and Ivan Mutagubya. On Monday, the Director of Public Prosecution dropped the charges against Okori while High Court Criminal Division Judge, Isaac Muwata convicted Ssenabulya on his own plea of guilt.  

On Wednesday, Kasolo took to the stand and accused police officers of torturing him in custody and forcing him to sign documents confessing to the crimes. He particularly singled out police detective Winfred Nakatudde as one of those who tortured him. 

Nakatudde had appeared before the court as a prosecution witness. As a result, justice Muwata opted for a trial within a trial to hear Kasolo’s allegations of torture. Kasolo, who is representing him told the court that while hawking shoes in Mabiito zone in Nateete on August 28th, 2019 at around 8 pm, he landed in a joint security operation involving police officers and other plain security officers who were arresting people.

According to Kasolo, the officers picked him up and bundled him together with other people in a police patrol van. He says that the officers blindfolded him and drove him to an unknown location where they pushed into a room containing 25 other suspects. 

Kasolo says that he was later picked from the room, blindfolded, and taken where he found detective Winfred Nakatudde whom he identified as Juliet Nakatudde. 

He explained that while in the room, he observed a table with various tools such as pliers, electric wires, teargas tins, nails, Iron bars, and hammers among others, which he suspected the officers were using to torture suspects. According to Kasolo, the security officers ordered him to strip naked and sit down before handing him a document to write his name. 

Kasolo says that when he asked questions about the documents, the officers beat him under the feet before one of the officers drew out a pistol, cocked it, and placed it in his mouth, saying that he was ready to eliminate him. Kasolo, who broke down in the court, said that when he agreed to write his name on different pages of the documents as directed, another officer he only identified as Barasa brought another document and directed him to write his name or risk being shot dead.

He told the court that on September 10th, 2019, the officer took him to Katwe police station for a medical checkup and it was discovered that he had no injury resulting from torture. They later took him to a psychiatrist to establish his mental status and was found to be of sound mind. However, the psychiatrist found out that he had injuries on both eyes got at Katwe police station.

Kasolo presented John Bosco Lubega alias Manomano his co-accused as his witness who told the court that he saw security officers torturing Kasolo. He said that he was dragged into a room where he could neither tell whether it was day or night where he found Kasolo seated on the floor naked. 

According to Lubega, the security officers tortured Kasolo while he was watching. However, State attorney Jonathan Muwaganya poked holes in the duo’s testimony and described them as liars, whose evidence should be expunged from the trial. Muwaganya told the court that Kasolo lied to the court when he claims that detective Juliet Nakatudde is among the security officers who tortured him. 

He argued that the suspect doesn’t know the person he talking about since detective Nakatudde had earlier identified herself to the court as Winfred Nakatudde. He also said that the duo had met and planned their testimony, which Lubega confirmed during the cross-examination.

Muwaganya also told the court that during the hearing, Kasolo didn’t ask any of the police officers who appeared as state witnesses any questions regarding his purported torture. He asked the court to drop the duo’s testimony given the fact that it doesn’t collaborate.

Muwaganya also noted that Kasolo lied to the court that he doesn’t know English yet he managed to spell his name and even quote specific articles from the constitution. Judge Isaac Muwata set March 6th to deliver his verdict on the torture allegations.

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