Amnesty, others blast Uganda President over “rampant torture”

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni. Photo : RR

Addis Abeba (ADV) – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni is facing damning condemnation from the local and western community over the detention and rampant torture of civilians in the country.

The latest condemnations started on Monday (yesterday) when the outspoken opposition MP Robert Kyangulanyi alias Bobi Wine was admitted in a Kampala hospital with wounds he apparently sustained from torture while in jail.

Amnesty international which led the campaign that forced the Ugandan government to release Bobi Wine and others is again championing the condemnations against Museveni’s government over the torture of politicians.

Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has also joined the fray by urging President Museveni to facilitate the « immediate arrest and prosecution of security officers » who killed and tortured civilian protestors.

“Unless this is done, it will be very difficult to conduct Government Business in Parliament. The Uganda Parliament will not condone or acquiesce acts of torture,” Ms. Kadaga insisted.

She revealed that security personnel from the Special Forces Command (presidential guards), national police and Military Police were those shooting unarmed civilians and torturing arrested opposition politicians.

On 13th August, Bobi Wine’s driver Yasin Kawuma was shot dead in the car he was driving during by-election campaigns in Uganda. Many believe Bobi Wine was the intended target, Amnesty International said on its website.

After clashes between ruling party and opposition supporters on the 14th of August, Bobi Wine was arrested and thrown in jail and later appeared in military court badly beaten up, barely able to recognize his lawyer, unable to speak and sit, and supported by military officers, AI’s website further explained.

Despite violent attempts to silence protests, many people took to the streets to demand his release while one person was killed and many others injured. This episode was followed by an intense domestic and international pressure culminating in the released of Bobi Wine and the military court charges against him were dropped.

«But moments later, he was re-arrested and charged with treason – a charge that we consider to be fabricated… 33 others have also been charged with treason while the pattern of police violence, mass arrests and jailing of prominent opposition politicians points to a systematic crackdown on those who challenge the authority of the President. This crackdown must end now !» the AI website report concludes.

In its overview on Uganda, AI states that « the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly were restricted. Journalists and others who criticized the President (Yoweri Museveni) or his family were arrested, detained and harassed. There was a sharp rise in the number of women killed, some of whom were subjected to sexual violence ».

© Bur-csa – Tamba Jean-Matthew III – ADV