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Human Rights Commission demands prosecution of UPDF soldiers over torture

A UPDF soldier uses a pair of pliers to torture a man arrested during Bobi Wine protests (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has asked the Judiciary to institute criminal proceedings against police and army officers who were involved in the brutal arrest and torture of civilians, including Members of Parliament, in Arua and Kampala.

Addressing journalists in Kampala on Friday, UHRC Executive Director Medi Kaggwa revealed the Commission had done thorough investigations, including visiting victims, and concluded that the army and police officers were involved in gross human rights violations.

Mr Kaggwa said his team had visited victims of the Arua chaos on August 13 and that of the Kampala and Mityana riots from where they recorded evidence of blatant disregard for human rights through torture by the security agencies.

MP Robert Kyagulanyi’s Elias Lukwago, Medard Segona and Andrew Karamagi meet the UHRC Chairperson Medi Kaggwa, August 20, over the brutal arrest and detention of MP Robert Kyagulanyi, Francis Zaake and the 32 others in the Arua Fracas (FILE PHOTO)

“You should prosecute individually under the prevention and prohibition of torture Act 2012, the security officers who allegedly tortured suspects arrested in the Arua fracas, and ensure adequate compensation and reparation to the victims for injury and losses suffered in the process,” Mr Kaggwa said while reading from the report the team compiled.

He also demanded an independent investigation into the shooting dead of Yasiin Kawuma, the driver of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.,

Mr Kaggwa also revealed that following the Arua chaos, the commission registered complaints from several people who were shot and brutalised by security agencies.

“We have also commenced our own investigation into the fracas and over 30 complaints files have been opened at Arua, Gulu and central regional offices. Nobel matters the commission is investigating at its own volition involve residents who sustained bullets injuries and are currently nursing wound in different hospitals,” he added.

He explained that Mr Philliam Anguyo, a resident of Pangisa ward, Oli Division in Arua was shot in the upper left leg, Innocent Asea of Juruso Village sustained injuries in the left arm and Mr Isaac Enzama of Oninia village was also shot through the back.

Mr Kaggwa also questioned police’s use of live ammunition in quelling the protests in Mityana and Kampala against civilians who were not armed and wondered whether police officers got enough training.

“There was no need of police firing live bullets pointing at people as if they were shooting to kill like we saw in the media.[Police should desist from the use of live bullets and other unorthodox weapons on unarmed demonstrators and non-violent suspects. We condemn the torture and other violations inflicted upon some of the suspects so all security officers should always fulfil their duty to observe and respect human rights in performance of their functions,” Mr Kaggwa warned.

Ugandan security officers clobber REUTERS photojournalist, James Akena covering the Bobi Wine protests August 20 (PML Daily PHOTO)

He also questioned the excessive use of force on journalists who were executing their duties and asked for the prosecution of individual officers and UPDF who assaulted, torture and damaged the equipment of journalists in the demonstrations.

“Freedom of expression should always be respected to allow journalists and media perform their legitimate role without undue interference. This denied the right to information of citizens as enshrined in the constitution and should be stopped,” Mr Kagwa said.

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