ARUSHA – The East African Law Society (EALS) has joined the growing number of organizations and personalities in condemning the Ugandan government over violating rights of some of its citizens opposed to it and its policies.
In a statement released in Arusha, Tanzania, on Monday, Mr Richard Mugisha, the EALS president, said the ongoing clampdown against opposition leaders and protestors is a violation of the rule of law and respect to fundamental human rights and freedoms and Uganda’s obligations to the East African Community (EAC).
“The partner states to the Treaty establishing the EAC have undertaken to observe the rule of law and human rights”, Mr Mugisha said.
He added that the reported violence and claims of unfair treatment accorded to the political detainees risked negating every good gain that Uganda has made in promoting regional integration.
Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and other opposition members were last weeks arrested from Arua Town following the August 13 chaos in Arua that claimed one life. The MPs are Kassiano Wadri, Mr Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Paul Mwiri (Jinja East), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and Mike Mabikke (former Makindye East MP). They were beaten and later produced in court on treason charges.
Bobi Wine was subsequently charged with being in possession of firearms while the other MPs were charged with treason in connection with stoning the vehicle of the President.
Bobi Wine’s lawyers later told journalists that he had been tortured while a tortured Zaake was on Friday dumped at Lubaga hospital.
Although the President on Sunday dismissed claims that Bobi Wine was tortured, EALS said some of the detainees have been subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment as well as denied access to medical services.
“These reports are horrifying and a matter of grave concern to every being of conscience. Worse still, the detainees have been denied legal representation of their choice contrary to the norm in a fair trial process”, Mr Mugisha said.
The law body called on the Uganda government to take steps to forestall further human rights violations “and to ensure that the detainees are granted all freedoms and rights appropriate to their attainment of a fair trial”.
The EAC Heads of States were urged to implore on the Ugandan leader “to take appropriate steps to end the human rights violations that now threaten the integrity and the future of the EAC”.