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REPUBLIC OF UGANDA:
OPPOSITION POLITICIAN DETAINED; SIGNS OF TORTURE

Update info:
30 Aug 2018
Country:
REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
Subject:
Robert Kyagulanyi
Gender m/f: m
Period:
28 Sep 2018
Distribution date:
30 Aug 2018
UA No:
154/2018

On 14 August, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, a Ugandan singer turned politician was arrested and later charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition on 16 August. While being arrested, he was physically assaulted with visible injuries and swelling on his face and body.

Ugandan singer turned opposition politician, Robert Kyagulanyi (also known as Bobi Wine) was arrested on 14 August following clashes between the ruling party and opposition supporters during campaign rallies, in the Arua municipality in northern Uganda, on 13 August. Security officers allege that they found unregistered firearms in his hotel room. Robert Kyagulanyi’s lawyers, his wife and the hotel management refute these allegations.

On 16 August, Robert Kyagulanyi was prosecuted before the General Court Martial, a military court in Gulu, northern Uganda. He was charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, under Section 119 (1)(h) of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Act 2005. He has been imprisoned until 23 August. According to his lawyer, in court, Robert Kyagulanyi showed visible signs of torture and other ill-treatment with injuries and swellings on his face and body. According to his wife, who saw him on 17 August, his eyes were swollen and inside his sockets, his face and ears were wounded and he had to be dragged by two soldiers to see her. He was unable to sit and was stretched out on the chair to converse with them.

Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of assembly and association.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

By using the military court system for Robert Kyagulanyi’s trial, the Ugandan authorities seemingly are attempting to intimidate the opposition. The military court is established to trial military offences by members of the armed forces. The jurisdiction of military courts should therefore be limited to trials of members of the military for military offences, such as breaches of military discipline. It should not extend to crimes over which civilian courts have jurisdiction.

According to the police statement, on 13 August, the last day of the Arua municipality’s parliamentary by-elections campaign, Robert Kyagulani’s driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot and killed by a ‘stray bullet’ when police officers tried to control clashes between opposition supporters and members of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party in northern Uganda.

Francis Zaake, an opposition member of parliament was also arrested on 14 August. His fate and whereabouts were unknown for three days. The Uganda Human Rights Commissions Chairperson visited Francis Zaake when he was in the Rubaga Missionary Hospital on 17 August. According to the chairperson, Francis Zaake sustained multiple injuries on the head, arms, and legs and is currently in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Uganda ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on 3 November 1986.

UA: 154/18 Index: AFR 59/8963/2018 Issue Date: 17 August 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in English or your own language urging the Ugandan authorities to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Robert Kyagulanyi, a prisoner of conscience held solely for exercising his right of assembly and association;
  • Ensure that Robert Kyagulanyi is protected from torture and other ill-treatment and has regular access to his family, lawyers of his choosing and any medical treatment he requires;
  • Promptly, impartially and effectively investigate all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in detention, make the findings of the investigation public, and bring those found culpable to justice in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 28 SEPTEMBER 2018 TO:
President of Uganda
Yoweri Museveni
State House Office
Entebbe
P.O Box 25497
Kampala, Uganda
Fax: +256414235462
Email:  molly.kamukama@statehouse.go.ug
Salutation: His Excellency

Minister of Defence
Adolf Mwesige
Mbuya
Chwa II
P.O.Box 3798
Kampala, Uganda
Fax: +256414222812
Email: mod.ps@defence.go.ug
Salutation: Honourable

And copies to:
Attorney General
William Byaruhanga
P.O Box 7183
Parliament Avenue
Kampala, Uganda
Fax: +256 41 254829
Email: info@justice.go.ug

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.