By John Agaba
THE Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has condemned the manner in which ex-Mukwano Industries employee Kassim Suuna was handled and wants the police men who beat him up charged in the courts of law.
"The UHRC strongly condemns the barbaric, high handed, and unprofessional behaviour of Police Commander Mr. Okumu and his two colleagues who did not only beat up their helpless victim but also heartlessly trampled upon his neck, stomach, and other parts of his body," said the commission's chairperson, Med SK Kaggwa.
"You saw the footage on TV," added Kaggwa. "It was so bad. For somebody unarmed, somebody who is already a disabled (Suuna was involved in an accident while on duty in 2012 that left some of his fingers incapacitated), that was the highest level of violation of people's rights."
"Regardless the reason he was there (on the Mukwano premises), whether it was trespass, that's not the way he should have been handled. The man was beaten as if he didn't have children, as if he was a goat they were taking to a slaughter house," said Kaggwa.
He said, currently, Suuna was hospitalised at Mulago Hospital.
He said this in a press briefing at the commission's head office in Tweed Plaza, on Lumumba Avenue, Kampala Wednesday.
Kaggwa said that going by their report from last year, torture cases in the country were reducing, but that the Suuna incident was a new stain in their efforts to promote human rights.
He said that the suspects should also be tried in courts of law.
"The police can do their own investigations and take disciplinary actions. But that is not enough. We want these men charged in courts of law under the anti-torture law," said Kaggwa.
Damning the act of the Police men as one of the worst forms of violations of people's rights, Kaggwa noted that the police had guidelines as to what limits they can go even when handling a violent person.
"But you don't hold someone, and pin him down and jump on their neck, ribs, and legs. This was total misuse of authority."
From Sunday the media has been awash with the story of Suuna who was beaten up by policemen at Mukwano Company premises on Saturday, following footage on Bukedde TV.
However, reacting to the incident, Mukwano Group of Companies chief executive officer, Tony Gadhoke, noted that Suuna was to blame for the torture and injuries sustained.
Gadhoke said that Suuna had become a security threat to the company, the reason he was beaten.
"We have engaged Suuna on a number of occasions and plans are underway to have him helped on humanitarian grounds and therefore his violence was uncalled for," said Gadhoke in a press interview on Tuesday.
The CEO also said that they do not condone violence and can therefore not be held responsible for the actions of the policemen.
Suuna was employed by Mukwano Group as a machine helper and was involved in an accident while on duty at the factory on December 12, 2012.
Gadhoke, however, added that when Suuna sustained injuries at work, he was treated and fully recovered before resuming duty. He, however, was dismissed after he became violent and slapped his supervisor.
According to Patience Agaba, the human resource officer at the company, Suuna received his full compensation of about sh1.1m after a doctor determined the extent of his incapacity at 10% which added to that figure.