Uganda: Top police summoned to court over torture
Ugandan police chief to face trial for violating citizens' rights, says prosecutor
By Halima Athumani
A Ugandan court on Monday issued a summons for the country’s top policeman to face torture charges.
A magistrate’s court in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, said the country’s police chief Kale Kayihura must face trial on Aug.10.
Kayihura is charged together with seven of his junior officers, most of whom are commanders in the Uganda Police Force. Kayihura has accused the Ugandan media of biased reporting on the event and called for revoking their licenses.
The case was filed by three citizens, Andrew Ssebitozi, Rogers Ddiba and Joseph Kaddu, who told the court that Kayihura is liable for acts of torture between 2011 and 2016.
Speaking to reporters outside the court Monday, the victims’ lawyer Kiwanuka Abdullah said the police officers had violated citizens’ rights.
“These officers, with orders from General Kayihura, have been committing these crimes since 2011 up to now, so they must answer for it,” Abdullah said.
Between 2011 and 2016, opposition supporters of the Forum for Democratic Change were brutally beaten by police and military officers and some had their properties, such as motorcycles, confiscated. The supporters were cheering for Dr. Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change as he was leaving a court.
This is a second case filed against the Kayihura in less than a week for the same beatings.
On Thursday last week, two citizens, Ronald Muhereza and Micheal Nyesiga, also filed a complaint to the High Court in Kampala, seeking for compensation worth $14,815 each.
The two citizens told court they were beaten as the police struggled to contain the excited crowd escorting Besigye from court to his party’s office. This act violated their constitutional right to freedom and inhumane treatment, according to their lawyer.
They also pleaded with the court to declare the police commanders unfit to be in the Uganda Police Force and that they “should be dismissed with disgrace”.
On Thursday last week, parliament was in a heated debate after an opposition-led motion condemned the police violence.
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