Breaking

Parliament Demands Prosecution of Police Officers over Torture

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga observed that that the application of torture contravenes article 24 of the Constitution which outlaws all forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as a form of punishment. Kadaga noted that the acts depict total disregard of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act by the police force.

Audio 5

Members of Parliament have demanded for the immediate prosecution of police officers involved in the torture of suspects.

The demand follows glaring images of the Kamwenge town council chairperson Godfrey Byamukama who was reportedly tortured in the hands of the Uganda Police Force. Byamukama had gaping wounds on his knees and ankles, which he said resulted from beatings by police while in detention at Nalufenya police station in Jinja.

Several other suspects charged in the recent murder of police commander Andrew Kaweesi recently complained in court of being beaten while at the same facility.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga observed that that the application of torture  contravenes article 24 of the Constitution which outlaws all forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as a form of punishment. Kadaga noted that the acts depict total disregard of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act by the police force.

"So many years after this law, how can one explain the electric shocks, knocking out of people's teeth, breaking knee caps, ironing a person's body, introduction of obnoxious substances into the mouth, into the anus, into the ears," Kadaga said.

She noted that these are crimes against humanity and that the perpetrators must be charged in an open court.

//Cue in: "on behalf...

Cue out:...answers."//

On Friday, police spokesperson Assan Kasingye identified police officers who have so far been arrested over accusations of torture.  The identified officers are Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Patrick Munanura, ASP Fred Tumuhirwe, Sgt Tumukunde and Constable Ronnie Byenkya.

Kadaga also expressed disgust at the detention of minors, in relation to the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his Bodyguard Kenneth Erau and Driver Godfrey Wambewo. The minors, aged between 2 and 14 were detained for more than a month under unclear circumstances. Their father, Abdu Rashid Mbazira, is one of the suspects in the gruesome murder.

Kadaga however says that children below the age of 12 have no legal capacity to commit any offense.

//Cue in: "criminal offences...

Cue out:...torture act."//

Ruth Nankabirwa, the government chief whip stated that government does not condone torture and tasked the internal affairs minister to ensure that whoever is found guilty of torturing people is brought to book.

//Cue in: "and in...

Cue out:...with that."//

The Leader of Opposition (LOP) in parliament Winnie Kiiza demanded that a comprehensive report regarding the security situation of the country, torture and kidnap of children is immediately tabled before parliament so that it guides the debate.

State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania apologized to the country and parliament over the torture reports.He informed parliament that police's Professional Standards Unit has already arrested four people who have been processed for criminal trial in the courts of law.

"We apologize to the country and to you parliament because essentially, whatever we do, the result should not be what was seen in the media. We are equally concerned about the laws being broken," Obiga Kania said.

//Cue in: "including those...

Cue out:...help us."//

But his submission instead raised more questions. Lira Woman MP Joy Ongom demanded an explanation why people charged in court are not taken to gazetted prisons but rather taken back to police cells where they are tortured.

//Cue in: "we hear...

Cue out:...tell us."

Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba appealed to the Speaker of Parliament to constitute a select committee to urgently investigate allegations of torture since the police cannot investigate itself.

However Kadaga ruled that Niwagaba tables a motion on torture that will be debated by parliament citing that a select committee would disrupt the budgeting process currently going on in parliament.      

Keywords