By Wasswa Deo
Uganda Coalition Against Torture has come out to demands that Uganda prisons services reject all suspects tortured prior to remand.
According to the statement released in reaction to the inhumane torture of 13 men formally detained at Nalufenya police station. The 13 suspects were implicated in the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kawesi, and his driver Godfrey Wambewo and body guard Kenneth Erau.
According to Muhammad Ndifuna the executive director of human rights network, Ugandans are losing hope in the ability by their government to protect them from acts of torture by security operatives.
Among others demands mentioned in the statement, the Human rights committee of the parliament should conduct an investigation into the allegations of torture and specifically at Nalufenya, Uganda government should ratify the optional protocol; to the convention against Torture (OPCAT 2006) to allow free and unlimited access to all detention facilities in the country for inspection by Human rights bodies.
Makerere University Researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi has been sent back to Luzira by Buganda Road Magistrate Court pending an application for the revision of her case filed in the high court by her lawyers.
Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo asked for an adjournment of the case pending determination of their application seeking to block a planned psychiatric examination against Dr Stella Nyanzi. The mental examinations were sought by the state during Nyanzi’s maiden appearance before the magistrate’s court early this month.
Nyanzi is charged with two counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication contrary to provisions of the Computer Misuse Act. Nyanzi was also charged with using the internet to disturb the peace and right to privacy of the president.
Prosecution alleges that Stella Nyanzi used her social media pages to refer to President Yoweri Museveni as “a pair of buttocks.” She denied the charges but told court that she always writes ‘metaphorically’ to deliver messages to ‘those in power’.
In reference to her vulgar and erotic posts, prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya filed an application on April 10, asking court to order that Nyanzi is subjected to a psychiatric examination. Muwaganya told court that Nyanzi has a history of erratic psychiatric disorder and was once a patient at Butabika Hospital. The application was based on the affidavit by SP Mboniva Emmanuel, one of the police officers investigating Nyanzi’s case.
But her lawyers rushed to the High Court to challenge the request saying that the state wants to use the mental test to declare Nyanzi an idiot and send her to a mental health facility. Lawyer Opiyo told court that the defense team hoped the high court application would be heard before today’s appearance. However, High Court has set tomorrow as the hearing date for the application.
Opiyo said that the state’s application was brought in bad faith and with utmost act of ambush to deny them an appropriate response. He said they need time to respond to all arguments raised by the state in its application for mental health examination. He also argued that the defense team received a copy of the application after arriving at the court.
Presiding Magistrate James Eremye said Nyanzi was sent back to Luzira on the request of her defense team.
Nyanzi had recently taken up a campaign code-named ‘Pads for Girls’ in which she castigated government for failing to fulfill its commitment to provide sanitary pads to all schoolgirls. The provision was part of President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign pledges ahead of the 2016 general election.
An 11-year-old pupil of Adeknino Primary school in Adeknino sub-county, Dokolo district has died while in police custody.
Solomon Opoi, a resident of Alwar village was arrested together with two other minors on Tuesday for allegedly stealing pop drink, a soft drink liked mostly by children, from a shop belonging to one Isaac Chandy at Adeknino Trading Centre.
Samuel Elyebu, the Officer In-charge of Adeknino Police Out-post said the deceased together with his two colleagues were brought to the police by Chandy who accused them of theft.
Elyebu said this morning when they went to check on the suspects, they found Opoi lying dead on the floor.
Ivan Ocen, 13, who was arrested together with the deceased and was detained in the same cell narrated to the police that Opio kept saying he wanted to go for a short call.
No one was there to open for them the cell when he collapsed at once. He said he thought the deceased was just tired and wanted to rest.
Meanwhile in his statement to police this morning, Chandy accused one Richard Okonye, a chapatti vendor at the trading centre of kicking Opio while he was being dragged to police.
Aminsi Kayondo Lukanga, the Dokolo District Police Commander says it was wrong to arrest and detain those minors for such an offence he described as minor.
Kayondo has tasked the officer in charge of Adeknino police post to explain the circumstances under which these minors were held in police detention without informing his superior.
The deceased’s body is currently at Dokolo Health Centre IV for a postmortem. No arrest has so far been made.
At the time of filing this report, the police were still waiting for the parents of the deceased to arrive from the village.
Two inmates from Moroto central prisons died last week due to various illnesses. 37-year-old Moton Lomoru from Napak district died on March 8th 2017 at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital.
Another inmate, Boiboi Apaakori aged 50-years died the next day at the same hospital. A highly placed source Moroto Regional Referral Hospital told URN that both inmates were admitted on March 6th with different conditions.
According to the source, Lomoru had severe anaemia with bilateral Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) while Apaakori had respiratory complications and DVT. Deep Vein Thrombosis refers to a blood clot that occurs in the deep veins of the arm or leg, according to medicine net an online health information portal.
Dr. Fiona Lalango who treated the inmates, says they are yet to decide what caused the blood clot since they lack the tools to investigate such cases. She notes that three inmates with similar conditions were rushed to Kampala for further management.
William Awany, the Officer in Charge of Moroto Central Prisons declined to comment on the death of the inmates, saying he was on his way to Lira for the burial of his brother.
Uganda Prisons Spokesperson, Frank Baine denied the death of inmates. He however, said there was some cases of Hepatitis B in the hospital.
Geoffrey Mawa, the Principal Administrator Moroto Regional Referral Hospital, says the bodies of the inmates were buried in Moroto municipal council mortuary on Sunday.
1500 warders and wardresses have been passed out today at Kololo airstrip after 9 months training at Luzira training school.
Prisons spokesperson Frank Baine says this is the biggest number to be passed out.
He adds that this will bridge the huge gap between the inmates and the staff adding that the number of inmates has tremendously increased.
These will now be posted to the 248 prison units across the country.
Winnie Byanyima, wife to former FDC presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye says they will hold government responsible if her husband is poisoned while he is on remand at the Luzira maximum Prison.
Besigye was sent to Luzira last week on charges of attempting to forcefully remove President Yoweri Museveni from power after losing to him in the February 18th elections.
He maintains that he won the election much as the Electoral Commission and Supreme Court declared and later ruled that incumbent President Museveni won the elections.
According to prosecution Besigye unlawfully declared himself winner of the February 18th presidential elections, incited the public to defy lawful authority and mobilised the masses to attend his swearing-in as president of Uganda which was illegal.
Byanyima, who visited Dr Kizza Besigye two times this week, says she was very worried of her husband’s safety. She narrated that her husband told her that when detained in Moroto some people with masked faces attempted to get inside his room after he switched off the light.
She says such act in a police cell and many others in their home at Kasangati indicates that they are living selfless life and don’t know what will come or happen to Besigye and the family since government has even increased watch on their family.
But Uganda Prison service spokesperson Frank Baine maintains that Besigye is fine and secure than when he was still remanded at their facility at Moroto because in Luzira they almost have everything including a hospital since it is a national prison facility.
During the hearing of his case at Nakawa Court, Besigye said his life was in danger and that some strange people had appeared around his cells at night.
Besigye was first detained at Moroto Prisons before he was sent to Luzira on government request. Later he was formerly charged with treason at Nakawa Magistrates Court in early morning court where the public was prevented from attending by the police.
Though Besigye is in Luzira prison, reports say heavily armed anti-riot police and military has been deployed around Besigye’s home in Kasangati which the residents and Byanyima describe as another abuse against the rights of the people.
The Supreme Court has thrown out a petition in which former Arua municipality member of Parliament Akbar Godi was challenging both his conviction and sentence. Godi was sentenced to 25 year jail for the murder of his wife Rehema Ceaser Nasur in 2008. Four of the five justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Jotham Tumwesigye today ruled that prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Godi indeed murdered his wife. They said that Godi should serve his 25 year jail sentence since prosecution placed Godi at the scene of crime and that there was ample evidence that he shot and killed his wife.