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UHRC orders police to release Nambooze for treatment in India

Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze received treatment at Kiruddu General Hospital. Medics have advised the MP receive treatment in India

KAMPALA – The Uganda Human Rights Commission has ordered the Inspector General of Police –John Martins Okoth-Ochola to release Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze to enable her travel to India for special treatment.

The human rights watchdog body says it would be breach of the MPs rights to be kept in detention as she was due to travel to India for further review, having undergone a spinal decompression surgery in November 2017.

In a letter to Mr Ochola, Meddie Kaggwa, the UHRC Chairperson who visited Nambooze at Kiruddu hospital, says that with her current medical conditions including severe back pain, “she is not in position to effectively defend herself against the charges” preferred by the police.

“Her hospital room has been transformed into a place of detention with 24 hours surveillance by police officers. She has been deprived of her privacy as a patient due to constant interference by police officers with her treatment regime,” Kaggwa said in a statement.

Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Chairman, Meddi Kaggwa

He also warned the IGP over possible embarrassment to Uganda Police Force and the country should anything happen to the detained Mukono Municipality legislator regarding her deteriorated health conditions.

“The Commission is concerned that if anything happens to Hon. Nambooze as result of delay in her medical treatment, it would raise legitimate questions as to how she was treated while she was in Police custody,” Kaggwa said adding that consequences will grave to the embarrassment of the Police and to the entire country.

IGP Martin Okoth Ochola

The commission requested IGP Ochola to beat all odds and intervention to ensure that Hon Nambooze’s rights are respected and that she is released to travel to India to receive specialized medical treatment.

Earlier this week, lawyers representing the Hon Nambooze petitioned the Human Rights Commission seeking for her immediate release but all attempts have been futile.

Nambooze was arrested on Wednesday 13 June by Police from her home in Mukono, detained at Jinja Road Police Station and later transferred to Nagalama Police Station where she recorded a statement on allegations that she “made unflattering comments about slain Arua MP Ibrahim Abiriga.”

Abiriga’s yellow Volkswagen Bettle in which he was killed, at the scene of crime (Photo by Nicholas Bamulanzeki)

She was released on Police bond but later re-arrested a day after and still under police detention to date, but according to UHRC, the continued detention contravenes article 23 (4) of the constitution which provides that “a person shall not if earlier released be brought to court not later than 48 hrs from the time of arrest.”

President Yoweri Museveni while addressing legislators during the 2018/19 budget reading at Serena Conference Center, Kampala, he issued a directive to IGP and Chief Justice Bart Katurebe to stop Police bonds and bails for suspected killer respectively.

“There two things I will not accept anymore, Police bond and bail for killers, I don’t want to hear of a police bond, if you’re suspected of killing innocent people, there’s no bond for you, no way. Then the issue of bail. Please, Chief Justice, bail for suspected killers is not acceptable,” Museveni said directing the Chief Justice to halt bail for “killers”.

On Wednesday this week while unveiling plans to deal with the security situation in the country at Parliament in Kampala, Mr Museveni, reechoed that the government will hunt down all social media “violators.”

He said that; “criminals use it [social media] to threaten violence and spread lies and cause panic. We are going to get capacity on top of that with UCC [Uganda Communications Commission] to locate the criminals without interfering with the rest of the uses.”

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