The High Court in Kampala has instructed the Uganda Prisons Service to carry out a comprehensive mental evaluation of Jamal Kiyemba, an individual facing serious terrorism charges.
This directive was issued by Justice Susan Okalany after a plea from Kiyemba’s lawyer, Geoffrey Turyamusiima, who raised concerns about his mental well-being. Turyamusiima explained to Court that Kiyemba’s speech and demeanour exhibited signs of potential mental instability.
He further noted that although Kiyemba had been transferred to the Butabika National Mental Referral Hospital for treatment, a thorough assessment by the Prison Service was required to ascertain his condition and the necessity of medical intervention.
The assessment report is anticipated to provide critical insights to Kiyemba’s defence team in preparation for court proceedings. Consequently, Justice Okalany has mandated the prison authorities to conduct the assessment and return to Court with the findings on October 5, 2023.
Jamal Kiyemba is facing grave charges, including offering support to a terrorist group, professing allegiance to or being associated with a terrorist organization, and soliciting or inducing support for a terrorist organization. These charges were formally substantiated in May 2023 by Pretrial Judge Alice Komuhangi Khaukha of the International Criminal Division, prior to the transfer of his case to another Judge for trial.
The prosecution’s case asserts that between 2021 and January 2022, Kiyemba engaged with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a designated terrorist organization, both in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He is alleged to have participated in recruitment activities, collaborating with other individuals who remain at large. The indictment also alleges that on January 29, 2022, Kiyemba advocated support for ADF at the Old Taxi Park in Kampala.
Evidence presented to the court by the prosecution suggests that Kiyemba has displayed affiliations with various terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, and ADF, since 1999. The case summary indicates that Kiyemba joined Jamil Mukulu’s ADF terrorist group in 2006, actively participating in recruitment and training operations.
In January 2022, Kiyemba allegedly voiced support for ADF in a public setting and encouraged others to assist the group to avert further violence in Kampala. Subsequently, he was apprehended while en route to Bugiri District from Ben Kiwanuka Street, boarding a taxi at the Old Taxi Park. During his detention, Kiyemba admitted his affiliation with ADF and his involvement in recruiting, even citing his recruitment of his own son, Jamil Abdallah Buyondo.
Records indicate that Kiyemba, originally named Anthony, adopted the name Jamal after converting to Islam following his father’s death. He pursued higher education in the United Kingdom in 1998, but his path took a dramatic turn in 2002 when he was arrested in Pakistan while attempting to enter Afghanistan alongside a suspected Al Qaeda operative and a U.S. national.
Subsequently, Kiyemba spent four years detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba before being released in 2006. Following his release, he received a compensation of one million Euros (equivalent to 3.7 billion Shillings at the time) for wrongful imprisonment and human rights violations. He was subsequently repatriated to Uganda.
Records also indicate that Kiyemba was once again arrested in Uganda in April 2015 in connection to the assassination of state attorney Joan Namazzi Kagezi. Kagezi was tragically killed by assailants in the Kiwatule suburb of Kampala on March 30, 2015.