Kyagulanyi is facing charges of illegal possession of weapons, following his arrest after the motorcade of longstanding president, Yoweri Museveni, was attacked by people throwing stones.
Kyagulanyi, who is also a politician, is being tried under military law because investigators say they found two guns in his hotel room. His wife insisted he doesn’t know how to handle a weapon, AP reported, and rights activists demanded his release.
His lawyer, Asuman Basalirwa, told DW on Thursday morning he will challenge the government’s decision to hold a court martial.
“It is our considered view that civilians have no business in the court martial, the court martial should really be an exclusive preserve for people in the military,” he said before the military hearing in the northern town of Gulu on Thursday.
The lawmaker has not been seen in public since his arrest, and many were worried about his safety after Uganda’s deputy prime minister told lawmakers Kyagulanyi had been hospitalized in custody, without giving details.
Kyagulanyi’s next hearing is due on August 23.
Why was Kyagulanyi arrested?
Kyagulanyi had been campaigning in the northwestern town of Arua on behalf of the opposition candidate, Kassiano Wadri, in a by-election.
President Museveni was also in Arua to support the ruling party candidate.
Police said Kyagulanyi was arrested for obstructing the presidential motorcade, during which a windscreen was damaged on one of the official vehicles. The president was not in the convoy when it was attacked.
In the ensuing scuffle, police fired live rounds in an attempt to disperse the crowd, killing Kyagulanyi’s driver, Yasin Kawuma.
Three other politicians, among them opposition lawmaker Francis Zaake, and at least 34 others were also arrested after stones were thrown at the president’s convoy late on Monday in the same area, according to a police spokesman.
A number of journalists covering the event were also arrested without clear cause.
Kyagulanyi took to Twitter shortly after the attack to claim he may have been the intended target of the shooting.
“Police have shot my driver dead thinking they’ve shot at me. My hotel is now cordoned off by police and SFC,” Kyagulanyi wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of his driver slumped in the car’s front seat.
Kyagulanyi’s assistant, Sheriff Najja, says the lawmaker was picked out of the crowd by authorities after the incident and quickly separated from other people during the chaos. Najja is also skeptical over the apparent randomness of the shooting.
“Why would someone be shot in a car which is parked outside the hotel?” he told DW. “If the car was moving it would create an impression that he may have committed a crime and was running away, but the car was parked at the hotel.”
In a post on Facebook, Kyagulanyi’s wife, Barbie Itungo, says she tried to reach her husband in vain as all his phones were unreachable.
Kyagulanyi has apparently been targeted previously — his home came under attack on October 3rd last year when two grenades exploded. However, no one was injured and no arrests were made.