Col. Tom Byabagamba and retired Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara yesterday appeared before the Military Tribunal in Nyamirambo where they were charged with different counts, some jointly others individual.
According to military prosecution, the duo is accused of spreading rumours with intent to incite people into rebellion against government and carrying out activities aimed at tarnishing the image of the country.
Byabagamba is also separately accused of obstructing criminal investigations, which he is jointly accused with a retired sergeant, Francois Kabayiza.
On the other hand, Rusagara, who retired from military service last year, is accused of illegal possession of a firearm.
Whereas Byabagamba, a former head of the Presidential Guard, appeared in full military fatigue, Rusagara and Kabayiza wore plain green clothes worn by detainees in a military facility.
Byabagamba, who recently returned from a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, appeared in court with two lawyers while Rusagara was represented by one lawyer.
However, Rubayiza did not have a lawyer and requested court, presided over by Lt. Col. Chance Ndagano, to give him until Monday to acquire a lawyer.
Col. Byabagamba’s lawyers requested that their client be tried separately since the charges he stands accused of are separate from the rest.
“It’s not clear if Tom Byabagamba is here as a co-accused of the suspects,” Valery Gakunzi, one of the lawyers told court.
Prosecutors said it was too early for the defendants to make such a request.
This prompted Ndagano to call for a short break to allow him time to deliberate on the request by the defendants.
After the break, the judge said Kabayiza’s request was genuine, thus adjourned the trial to September 5 to allow him find counsel.
On the request by Byabagamba’s lawyers to separate the cases, Ndagano said that will be analysed in subsequent hearings.
Meanwhile the prosecutor told The New Times that the case of retired Capt. David Kabuye, who was also arrested last week, was handed to civilian courts as charges against him are separate from the others.”