Activists demand officers at Nalufenya account for their actions

A section of Ugandans has tasked the Uganda Police to account for the actions of its errant officers who tortured suspects at Nalufenya Detention Facility over the years.

Located in Jinja district, Nalufenya Police post had been transformed into a Special Investigations Centre of police by the former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura.

At the facility, all suspects, who were treated as hardcore criminals, were detained. But its image changed as persons who were detained there came out with aching tales of torture, human rights violations as well as inhumane and degrading treatment.

The facility was at the centre of controversy after gruesome pictures of Kamwenge Mayor Geoffrey Byabakama emerged showing marks of torture all over his body. Byamukama, one of the people suspected of killing former Police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, had been severely beaten on the knees and ankles and could barely walk when his pictures first came to the public domain.

Such actions, coupled with public outcry, prompted the re-designation of Nalufenya Special detention facility into a police station by the Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola.

But Imam Idi Kasozi, a renowned analyst says closing Nalufenya or reverting its status to the police station is not exciting.  He says Police needs to take responsibility and account for its ugly actions at the facility instead of covering them up with a change in status.

Jomeo Richard, a Kampala based activist says the closure or transformation of Nalufenya restores hope for Ugandans. He says the government needs to do much more to eliminate torture, especially within the security forces.  Jomeo also called for those who were in charge of torture at Nalufenya to be made to account.
Anthony Nuwaijuka, a Bodaboda rider says Nalufenya had lost its place but says this new move to turn Nalufenya into a police station will change the image of the police.

Meanwhile, Kitagwenda County MP Abas Agaba says that Nalufenya as a facility was not the problem, but the actions of the police officers in charge of the facility adding that torture should never be tolerated in any part of the country.



Court grants bail to police officers accused of torture

By Babirye Sania

Four Police officers who are accused of touring the mayor of  Kamwenge Geoffrey Byamukama have been granted bail by  Buganda road court.

Chief magistrate Jamson Kareemani  has released  D/ASP Patrick Muramira and D/ASP FredTumuhairwe on a  2 million cash bail each while the other two Habib Roma and Ben Odeke  have been granted a one million cash bail.

The magistrate has ordered them to deposit their national identity cards, passports to court  and temporally  bared them  from accessing their former place of work until investigations into the case are complete

The four have also been ordered to report  to court twice  every week starting  on the 16th of June  2017.

On Friday last week the four were charged with two counts of torture  and causing  grievance  harm and pleaded not guilty

Prosecution led by Nelly Asiku states that on the 5th/April 2017 at Ministry of Lands  in the office of commissioner William Turyomurugyendo within Kampala district, the accused picked Mayor Byamukama and  unlawfully used iron bars and batons to beat him   thereby causing wounds on his knees and ankles.

 The officers allegedly committed the said offenses while in  the course of performing their duties  as they  transported Byamukama in  police van  Reg .  UAT 460Y.

Besigye calls for closure of Nalufenya

Former presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye, together with councillors from Kawempe Division, has demanded immediate closure of Nalufenya police station, a facility that is at the center of the recent torture allegations.

Councillors led by Harris Akampurira, who represents Makerere University, launched a campaign code-named ‘Nalufenya Must Fall’ saying that they were not satisfied with the report by Members of Parliament and demanded that if serious investigations are to be done the facility must be closed.

They argue that what takes place at Nalufenya Special Investigations Centre, located in Jinja District, is a violation of articles 24 and 44 of the constitution. Akampurira further says that police actions in Nalufenya run counter to the prevention and prohibition of torture Act, and all the international conventions that Uganda is signatory to.

Micheal Wamala Ziggwa, the city authority councillor for Kawempe South Councillor, wondered whether police will replace scooped people’s body parts when they find out that they were innocent.

He demanded that the facility be closed so that proper investigation is made.

The leaders demanded that human rights bodies together with inter-religious council of Uganda should all address the nation on what is happening on torture.

Since the leaking of photographs of tortured Kamwenge Town Council Mayor, Geoffrey Byamukama, and other suspects detained on allegations of killing former police spokesman, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, there has been wide condemnation of the acts of the security agencies.

Besigye said Nalufenya is just a manifestation of what he called captivity that Ugandans have been put into.

Besigye noted that Ugandans must not only focus on Nalufenya but look at all other forms of injustices.

He highlighted the former Nile Mansions, current Serena Hotel, which was a centre of torture and human rights abuse during Obote II government and the Nakasero State Research Bureau which was used by Idi Amin’s security agents.




Nalufenya operatives in the spotlight again for refusing a mother to breastfeed her child

Operatives at Nalufenya police facility in Jinja district are on spot for blocking a mother in their custody from breastfeeding her 7-months-old baby.

Justine Nakakeeto, the only female suspect in Nalufenya police facility was picked up together with her 7-months-old baby from Kikoni, a Kampala suburb in April this year. She is accused together with 12 others for recruiting youths into criminal gangs to terrorize people in Masaka, Kampala and Wakiso districts.

However, Amooti Katebalirwe, the Acting Chairman Uganda Human Rights Human Commission, says that Nakakeeto was blocked from breastfeeding her baby.

“We were informed that she is not allowed to breastfeed her baby. We will ask the Inspector General of Police-IGP Kale Kayihura to explain this in our next meeting,” Katebalirwe told URN at the UHRC headquarters in Kampala on Tuesday. Police spokesperson, Asan Kasingye confirmed the detention of Nakakeeto at Nalufenya.

“When I went there, I found a woman who was in custody but am not sure whether she was with her baby there,” said Kasingye. Adding that, “there is no law restricting detention of a breastfeeding mother and it’s her decision whether to go with her baby or not. I just don’t understand how she can be stopped from breastfeeding a baby she is with in the cells.”

A source that talked to URN on condition of anonymity, says Nakakeeto was stopped from breastfeeding her baby during interrogation. “We thought if she feels the need to breastfeed and the pain, she will confess to her involvement,” the source said. In her statement, Nakakeeto explains that she was picked up together with her baby from her bar in Kikoni where she was found serving her customers.

This is not the first time operatives at Nalufenya police facility are under the spotlight for human rights violation. The operatives drew angry reaction mid this month when some of the suspects held in connection to the murder of former police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi appeared in court limping with fresh wounds on their body.

They accused the operatives at Nalufenya police facility for torturing them to confess their alleged involvement in the murder of Kaweesi, his body guard Kenneth Erau and Driver Godfrey Mambewo.



Nalufenya tortured suspects drag attorney general to court

By Babirye Sania

The  Attorney General has been dragged  to the High court by five suspects who claim to have been tortured by police while in detention at the now famous  Nalufenya police station based  in Jinja district

The five who are part of the many suspects charged with the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi have been  led by a one Godfrey Musisi Galabuzi.

According to documents before court  the lead petitioner Galabuzi claims that police from the anti terrorism unit commanded by D/SSP Johnson Olal on the morning of the 23rd of  March 2017 invaded his home and arrested him, his wife Grace Nankya and 3 of his workers and drove them to Nalufenya police cells.

He further explains that while at Nalufenya they were told that they did participate in the murder of Kaweesi and that his wife  was responsible for cooking food and feeding the killers.

Galabuzi claims that they were promised large sums of money if they confessed to the crime before being subjected to assault and torture which included being placed  in tinny congested  and poorly ventilated  rooms, fed  on one meal a day and sprayed with toxic gas which suffocated them and affected their sight.

The suspects represented  by  Ladislous  Rwakafuuzi a human rights lawyer claim that they  were later charged with terrorism and murder but released on bond at Kira road police station.

That  one of the suspect identified as private Musisi was later arraigned  before Nakawa court and charged with conspiracy to murder while the remaining 4 suspects have never been taken to court.

The  5 suspects are now seeking court to hold the Attorney General of Uganda liable for the acts of the police at Nalufenya which they  claim are degrading and inhumane  .

The Attorney General has been given  15 days to  file his defense.

Kaweesi murder suspects sent to Luzira Maximum prison

By Sania Babirye

The 22 suspects charged with the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi the former police spokesperson have been remanded to Luzira prison.

The suspects had returned before Nakawa magistrate court for mention of their case.

However prosecution led by Joyce Anyago has informed Grade one magistrate Noah Sajjabi that investigations into the case are still ongoing.

They have now been remanded until the 1st of June 2017.

These are charged with 5 counts including murder, terrorism and aggravated robbery.

Prosecution states that the the suspects on the morning of 17th/March 2017 at Kulambiro within Kampala district shot dead AIGP Felix Kaweesi, his body guard Kenneth Erau and his driver Godfrey Wambewa as the trio drove in the official Uganda Police vehicle to work.

Civil society organizations deman that legislators investigate Nalufenya incident

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.

Democratic Party decries the torture of suspects in Nalufenya

By Segawa Robert
Democratic Party (DP) has condemned the Police for torturing suspects in the killing of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
While addressing media at DP offices in Kampala Fred Mwesigwa, the DP Press Secretary  said it is wrong to torture suspects while in detention.
He questioned how Police could defend that the suspects were injured before arrest. He adds that they were paraded in court with fresh wounds while others were rotting.
Mwesigwa also warned security against turning Nalufenya into a torture center and advised them to transfer the center from Busoga to another part of the country.
To this, Mwesigwa called on security to follow guidance from International Law on Torture.
Mwesigwa asked Uganda Human Rights Commission to revisit Nalufenya Detention Center to monitor how secure the facility is.