Eighteen Makerere University students, who were on Wednesday last week remanded over their alleged involvement in a strike, have this afternoon been released on cash bail of 100,000 shillings each.
The students, who face charges of unlawful society, were released by Law Development Centre (LDC) Grade One Magistrate, Esther Nasambu Rebecca.
On Wednesday last week, the students were remanded to Luzira prison on their maiden court appearance, as they could not apply for bail since it was past court working hours and their number was also huge.
Those released include Gordon Lule, 23, Peter Lowestain,20, Paul Kiggundu,19, Gloria Katushabe,24, Lionel Muhwezi,20, Jacob Eyelu,20, Emmanuel Nyero,19, Clinton Kanyali,20, Javira Kigenyi,22 and Samuel Kanamwangi, who is aged 22.
Others are Jack Obong, 23, Henry Kata, 22, Hassan Waswa, 22, Kenneth Ogola, 23, Eric Kizito, 20, Charles Waluganda, 23, Ramathan Kawoya, 20 and Gilbert Turyasingura, aged 21.
Each of their 39 sureties was ordered to execute a non cash of bail of 10 million shillings, before being cautioned to make sure that the students attend court whenever they are needed or else risk having their properties attached or sent to Luzira prison.
The students face similar charges with the area councilor, Bernard Luyiga, who was however, released on bail last week since he needed medical treatment after he was reportedly assaulted by the police while arresting him.
The matter was fixed for hearing on March 26 and 28 as investigations into the matter were complete.
Exactly a week ago, students at the university took part in a strike protesting the proposed fees payment policy, which requires private sponsored students to have paid 60% of their tuition by the sixth week of the semester.
The students looted merchandise from the neighboring business centers like Kikoni and Wandegeya, an action that was condemned by the general public.
While releasing the students, the Magistrate cautioned them to be law abiding citizens by respecting the peace of others until their trial is concluded. The cautioning followed a request by the state prosecutor, Aliwaali Kizito, asking court to issue stringent bail conditions.
However, the request by the state prosecutor, met stiff resistance from Nicholas Opio, one of the defense lawyers, who argued that the students are innocent until proven guilty.
The Magistrate also asked the prosecution to avail the defense team with the evidence they intend to rely on to prove their case against the students.
The availing of the witness statements is to enable the five defense lawyers prepare their defense accordingly.
Security in and around the court premises was beefed up with the anti riot police deployed all over the area to avert any chaos by the students.