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Worrying trend shows increased number of torture victims as Police, UPDF top list

ACTV Chief Executive Office, Mr. Samuel Herbert Nsubuga, decried the overwhelming numbers of torture victims at the hands of security agencies. (Photo by Javira Ssebwami)

KAMPALA– As the country ponders with torture allegations of Members of Parliament and other people in the aftermath of Arua elections, overwhelming numbers of victims of torture has worried African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) and the donor community that finances its operations.

According to ACTV, the escalating cases of torture have been perpetrated by security forces who have continued to unleash torture on Ugandans with impunity.

In the new report, Uganda Police have again topped the list and closely followed by Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) among other sister security agencies.

Others bodies include flying squad, crime preventers, and individuals attached to security forces.

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

The report says that torture is being perpetrated by security agents responsible for upholding and enforcing the law.

Some of the forms of torture captured in the report included physical and psychological suffering from beatings, rape and the pulling out of fingernails.

Others include electric shocks, mock executions, pepper sprays, denial of food and the shame of being stripped naked in public.

Mr Suleiman Mpagi, the Monitoring and Evaluation manager at ACTV said that a number of survivors have also reported chemical exposure, solitary confinement, denial of sleep among others.

Mr Suleiman Mpagi, the Monitoring and Evaluation manager at ACTV giving a brief presentation on the escalating torture cases in Uganda at their Kamwoky based headquarters on Monday (Photo by Javira Ssebwami)

Mr Samuel Herbert Nsubuga, the CEO at ACTV said, “whereas there is a comprehensive legal regime that prevents and prohibits torture, this violation is still persistent and rampant.”

“Six years after the law against torture was put in place but we have not had any high ranking officer to act as an example like to show that the anti-torture law is working,” Mr Nsubuga said.

He added despite numerous efforts including translating the anti-torture law into local languages, people don’t know that torture is a very big crime.

According to the report, torture is used as an investigative technique to extract confessions and information from suspects in order to secure easy convictions.

Also, a report published by Uganda Human right commission in June this year indicated that torture is also used as a means of social control and political repression to oppress opposition politicians, journalists, human rights activists and other groups of people deemed unsupportive to the ruling party.

ACTV has now embarked on a sustained awareness campaign in communities through dialogue and training of key stakeholders in curbing the escalating vice.

Mr. Nsubuga lauded Uganda Prison Service (UPS) saying that it has remained one of the best stakeholders as they have continued to working together to reduce torture.

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

He also commended the media for putting torture-related cases into light

Fighting torture requires a multipronged approach with communities, the media and government agencies working together,” he said adding if communities have no understanding of what torture is and victims will not ably report to the nearest Authorities.

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