James Pirtle is a trial lawyer and owner of The Sentinel Law Group, PLLC, a Seattle law firm and he is an attorney on the ground for Legal Advocacy Worldwide (LAW), a non-profit devoted to financing direct legal advocacy on behalf of the oppressed abroad, including the state-sanctioned persecution of the LGBT community in Africa. This blog chronicles how his involvement in the defense of Thomas Kwoyelo, a former child soldier in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda, developed into a broad international human rights practice with crusading Ugandan attorney John Francis Onyango. This blog begins with their involvement in the Kwoyelo case and continues with updates and developments in the human rights cases. Read from the bottom up to see how it all unfolds.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blog Post 11 - Kwoyelo Still in Prison

The Supreme Court of Uganda
The jaws of defeat are wide open again.

On September 22nd, the Constitutional Court found that Kwoyelo was denied equal protection under the Amnesty Act and ordered the International Crimes Division to halt the trial and to enter orders for his release.  Unbeknownst to us until recently, the Attorney General filed an emergency appeal of the decision directly to the Supreme Court along with a request to keep Kwoyelo imprisoned until they rule.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I should have learned not to have expectations.  Things don't work there the way they do here and now we are in a difficult spot.  The Constitutional Court ordered the International Crimes Division to stop the trial but they are not in session.  If the Supreme Court sits and rules against us before the International Crimes Division sits, we are screwed and this case is going to trial.

Francis and I are working as fast as possible to get my license secured so I can help argue the case.  This is a huge setback and everything is in flux right now.  I know I am not supposed to have expectations, but I expect to be back in Africa soon.

More to follow.