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Human Rights Defenders, Lawyers Condemn Nicholas Opio’s Detention :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Human Rights Defenders, Lawyers Condemn Nicholas Opio’s Detention

According to Job Kiija, a representative of Innovations for Democratic Engagement and Action- IDEA, the increased threats directed towards citizens and civic leaders significantly dent Uganda’s Human Rights Record.
Job Kiija Addresses Media

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A group of Human rights defenders and lawyers under the Uganda Law Society have condemned the continued detention of Nicholas Opio, the city lawyer who was arrested on allegations of money laundering and has been denied the police bond.

Opiyo, a human rights lawyer, was arrested on Tuesday and according to witnesses, he was picked up from Lamaro restaurant in Kamwokya by plain clothes operatives, hand cuffed, bundled into a tinted vehicle and driven to an undisclosed location.

In the night, Police confirmed on its Facebook page that Opio was being held at Special Investigation Unit in Kireka on allegations of money laundering and other related acts. He was held in the detention facility where Civil Society leaders gathered this morning.

Lawyers led by David Mpanga and few of Opiyo's family members who were allowed access to the suspect said they were only allowed to see him and later to ordered to leave. 

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Opiyo is the lawyer who has been representing two NGOs - the Uganda National NGO Forum and the Uganda Women’s Network - whose accounts were recently frozen by the Financial Intelligence Authority on allegations that they were financing terrorism activities.

According to Job Kiija, a representative of Innovations for Democratic Engagement and Action- IDEA, the increased threats directed towards citizens and civic leaders create a significant dent on Uganda’s Human Rights Record.

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The Executive Director of Legal Aid Service Providers Network, Sylvia Namubiru, said the abduction of their colleague Nicholas Opio, a prominent human rights lawyer, is the latest of a series of threats against pro-democracy forces in the country.

Kiija said that it is simply reprehensible that the Uganda’s People Defense forces has not shed its bush war conduct and is instead increasingly being deployed against defenseless citizens and in the process undermining the credibility of the nation’s police force.

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 Namubiru who represents fifty-four organizations under Legal AID service providers, condemned the manner in which Nicholas was arrested and the fact that he was denied legal representation and immediate access to his doctors last night. 

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The Uganda Law society president Phiona Wall, says the ULS is concerned about the continued abduction of their members and their being kept incommunicado, similar to the way Opio was picked up during this election period.

It has also been established that Opiyo was arrested together with three other human rights lawyers - Herbert Dakasi, Anthony Odur and Esomu Obure.   They three are also still being detained withoyt being produced in court.   

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