WASHINGTON DC– A senior member of the US House of Representatives and a team of senior and international lawyers have condemned what they called arbitrary arrests following reports that security agencies reportedly raided a hotel in which Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine had booked in last night in Jinja.
Bobi Wine and a team of others on social media claimed Police in Jinja District raided City Hotel in which he had booked into in search of him.
Bobi Wine who was slated to have a music show in Jinja on Saturday evening also claimed that police had ordered his team out of the town, arrested some and escorted others up to Lugazi on ‘gun point’.
I was alive yesterday in jinja city where he was going to perform on his show but uganda police force stopped him and his crew team yet allowed other artist to perform pic.twitter.com/WJSPjHTBzf
— Ashiraf Green (@AshirafGreen) December 16, 2018
Bobi Wine in a statement on Facebook said; “They have beaten some of them, dragged them onto police pick-up cars and driven them to unknown destinations for no offence whatsoever. Meanwhile, I am still in Jinja town. The police are looking for me everywhere. They have even blocked some roads in search for me! I will try not to avail myself to them- Arua is still fresh in our minds, and we know what they can do. But this injustice must end and we must put it to an end by ourselves. No one else will do it for us,” Mr Kyagulanyi posted on his social media platforms on Saturday evening.
US Congressman Bradley Sherman on social media attacked Ugandan government saying they must commit to essential principle of freedom of speech.
“Earlier this year [September 2018], I met with Bobi Wine after he was brutally beaten and detained by Ugandan security forces for speaking out against corruption. Today they have reportedly surrounded him and his team. The Ugandan government must commit to the essential principle of freedom of speech,” Mr Sherman tweeted Sunday morning.
Earlier this year I met with @HEBobiWine after he was brutally beaten and detained by Ugandan security forces for speaking out against corruption. Today they have reportedly surrounded him and his team. The Ugandan govt must commit to the essential principle of freedom of speech. pic.twitter.com/ddb5WpKbSF
— Rep. Brad Sherman (@BradSherman) December 16, 2018
Bobi Wine’s US lawyer Robert Amsterdam in a statement issued on Saturday night, said: “This is a clear and brazen act of targeted political repression by the Uganda authorities aimed at violating Bobi Wine’s human rights,” said Amsterdam.
“Once again, Bobi Wine has broken no law, the concert was fully and legally permitted, and the other participating musicians were not targeted.”
Amsterdam added that the latest attempt to arrest Bobi Wine for no reason is clearly reminiscent of the events of this past August 14, when the Kyadondo East MP and many others were brutally arrested, jailed, and subjected to extensive torture by agents of the Special Forces Command (SFC).
“The use of violence and intimidation by the government of Uganda against peaceful, law-abiding citizens is carried out with the clear intention of repressing their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” he said.
He further noted that they are going to be rigorously documenting every unlawful act and violation of rights by members of the police and their superiors and will seek to hold them accountable before every available international forum.
“The highest authorities have an urgent responsibility to halt this deplorable persecution without delay,” Mr Amsterdam said.
There’s now reports of Ugandan police setting up roadblocks on the Kampala-Jinja highway in their unlawful attempt to detain Bobi Wine. They have no legal basis to seek arrest, and they still aren’t even bothering to invent a pretext for this thuggish use of state power.
— Robert Amsterdam (@robertamsterdam) December 15, 2018
Others who have since condemned the incident include California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark also urged Uganda to allow opposition space.
“Reports are coming out that Bobi Wine may be in danger in Uganda. Stifling freedom of speech and expression and arbitrary arrests have no place in a democracy,” Bass tweeted.
For Prime Minister Helen Clark, “Disturbing reports from Uganda where Opposition MP Bobi Wine is again in hiding following police violently arresting members of his concert crew. Bobi was badly hurt in an earlier violent arrest and detention. Government must allow opposition space,” she tweeted.
Urgent: Ugandan police just raided hotel where rapper-politician Bobi Wine was staying ahead of concert tonight in Jinja. He escaped but is now hiding, fearful for his life as police search for him. Pressure needed to stop this effort to silence leading critic of Pres Museveni. pic.twitter.com/cN5gRBPApP
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) December 15, 2018
RM @RepEliotEngel: Once again, President Museveni is hunting down @HEBobiWine, who was arrested & brutally tortured along with other opposition politicians in August. It is time to put a stop to the persecution of the political opposition in #Uganda. #Arua33
— House Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats (@HFACDemocrats) December 15, 2018
We are closely tracking the events happening in Jinja, #Uganda, where authorities have once again targeted opposition leader and artist @HEBobiwine. The continued threats, intimidation and arbitrary arrests of him and his colleagues are unacceptable and cannot continue to happen.
— Vanguard Africa (@VanguardAfrica) December 15, 2018