Defense Lawyers abandon terror suspects
Two more lawyers defending Innocent Kalisa, the former presidential guard and a co-accused suspect in the terror case of Lt Joel Mutabazi, this May 15 dropped from defending their client, making the total number of lawyers have resigned to four since the case commenced at the Kanombe Military court.
Lt Joel Mutabazi’s advocate was the first lawyer to drop out the defense team, resigning from his duties at the initial case hearing early this year. The most recent case was witnessed this Wednesday when Joseph Nshimiyimana, aka Camarade’s lawyer also dropped in the towel.
The law provides the lawyers with the possibility of having a choice to defend their clients or drop out any time. However, in the terror trial case, it has been seen as unusual.
One of Kalisa’s lawyers dropped out of the case after consultation with his client for about ten minutes, while the other was asked by his client, infront of court, to halt his duties as a defense lawyer.
Kalisa didn’t explain the reason behind firing his lawyers but the advocates said that they wouldn’t continue to defend a client who is difficult to work.
The row between Kalisa and his lawyers came as a result of video evidence from the criminal Investigation in which he denied the person in the video but later on agreed that he was the one- but the denied the video content, stating that the CID questioning was done without his consent.
Prosecution however insisted that Kalisa was the person in the video and had committed the crimes of blackmailing the government through international media outlets. Prosecution says that both Kalisa and Lt. Mutabazi were involved in the same crime.
Kalisa told court that the media publications were on his profile and background, and the journalists should be responsible for the rest of the published content.
Prosecution said that it will need to spend more time on this case since they have evidence that the suspects were working with forces that fight the Kigali government.