“A herd’s man approached me and told me that he had seen something in a sack but he was not sure of what it was. I asked him where he had seen the sack so we could go there and check. He took me and on opening the sack at first I thought they were piglets but on checking very well I found a baby, it was about to die. Her legs and hands were tied, her tongue was cut half way, part of her tooth had been cut or cracked on top and they had covered her face with a weaved basket, she was very weak.” -Agnes (Lady that found Hope) Although born healthy on January 1st, 2007, Hope was kidnapped, trafficked, and then held captive for over a year when she was just one and a half years old by a witch doctor. As a result of being malnourished and tortured she now has cerebral palsy caused by oxygen deprivation from being bled regularly. She also contracted cerebral malaria, spasticity, poor limb control and posture. She is unable to stand or walk, and because of the Psychological trauma does not talk. Our partner Kyampisi Childcare Ministries provides Hope with full time care and physiotherapy. The police found out that the witchdoctor had taken Hope for ritual purposes, and the main reason was to sacrifice her to the gods for more blessings. Child sacrifice in Uganda is a crime and considered a form of human trafficking as outlined in the Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009. In January, 2016 ENA was part of a joint operation with Freedom Now International, KCM and the Uganda police force. This operation resulted in the arrest of Hopes attacker after eight years of him hiding from justice. This week, Hope’s alleged witch doctor and attacker stood before the judge and we are excited to bring you the following update on her case from Chris Gay, ENA’s Managing Director of End Modern Slavery: Hope’s case was successfully transferred to the High court of Masaka for a fresh hearing. We are happy that Mr. Mike Chibita, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Uganda has taken keen interest in this case. He personally ordered the withdrawal of the lesser charges of Kidnapping with intent to cause grievous harm against a child and increased the charge to Kidnapping with intent to murder a child, a capital offense.
- The suspect will be transferred from the lower security prison to a maximum security prison where capital offenders are kept.
- Hope’s case will move from Rakai Magistrate’s court to the Masaka High court. The magistrate’s court has no mandate to hear a capital offense. It can only be heard in the High court.
- The DPP will send a prosecutor to prosecute the case from the beginning. This means that all the witnesses that have already testified will testify again. The whole process begins anew. There is a chance the lawyers can apply for expedited hearing. If it’s not considered by the seated Judge, then we will have to go through the same process and find funds to bring the case again.