The Ugandan Athletics coach, Peter Wemali, who was arrested for allegedly defiling and raping three female national runners, was said to have also infected the athletes with the HIV virus, court heard on Thursday.
According to a report in the Daily Monitor, medical reports tendered in Kapchorwa Chief Magistrate’s Court as part of prosecution evidence indicated that Wemali infected the female national runners with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The prosecution also amended the charges from rape to aggravated defilement. However, Wemali was not allowed to take plea because of the nature of his alleged offenses.
According to the presiding Grade One Magistrate, Hood Matovu, the new charges against Wemali are grave and can only be heard by the High Court.
Mr Matovu thereafter remanded Wemali in custody until May 14, 2015 pending further investigations into the case.
Spotlight fell on Peter Wemali, until recently the head coach of a police camp in eastern Uganda, in March 2014 when members of the national junior female team accused him of sexually harassing them during a training camp in Bukwo ahead of the Africa Cross-country Championships.
The young athletes confided in team captain Moses Kipsiro, who asked Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) to fire him.
UAF instead turned on Commonwealth gold medallist Kipsiro and dropped him from the national team that represented Uganda at the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Wemali, who has also been accused of practising witchcraft, was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Earlier this month, Kipsiro revealed he may have to flee Uganda after receiving death threats that he said stemmed from the allegations he raised against the coach.
Wemali was taken into custody on April 15, 2015 at Kibuli Police Training School on Sipi Region Regional Police Commander (RPC) James Ruhweza’s orders over the alleged rape and defilement of three female runners aged 15, 16 and 17 between 2013 and 2014.
“He is the prime suspect,” said Commander Ruhweza, according to the newspaper report which which said the former coach was arrested after the girls underwent medical examinations.
The three female athletes made fresh confessions during a stakeholders meeting in Kapchorwa a couple of weeks ago, claiming Wemali sexually assaulted them and Police then put Wemali on their wanted list.
Rape and defilement are capital offences according to Uganda’s Constitution, and attract a death sentence. The Courts however have the discretion to give a lighter sentence depending on the circumstances.