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Human rights expert pins Police on brutality

By Andrew Ssenyonga

Added 5th August 2016 01:49 PM

I watched the Kalerwe Market and Namasole Road incidents on a local television and I was touched as a human rights expert.

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I watched the Kalerwe Market and Namasole Road incidents on a local television and I was touched as a human rights expert.

PIC:  The police officers implicated in beating of the supporters of opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye. Photo/ Meddie Musisi

A member of the UN committee on Human Rights, Pollar Awich has criticized Police officers who were implicated in beating of the supporters of opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye.

While testifying against the eight police officers who are allegedly whipped Besigye's supporters on Thursday, Awich said beating people is a violation of human rights and was considered as torture.

The human rights expert who was called in by the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura to testify against the suspects explained that torture is an intention of inflicting pain on a human being to obtain an objective.

"I watched the Kalerwe Market and Namasole Road incidents on a local television and I was touched as a human rights expert.
The pain that was inflicted on the civilians is considered as torture since it was done with the intent of dispersing them," Awich said.

Citing article 44 of the 1995 Constitution that prohibition of derogation from particular human rights and freedoms, Awich said notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, there shall be no derogation from the enjoyment of certain rights and freedoms.


"These include freedom   from   torture   and   cruel,   inhuman   or   degrading treatment or punishment, freedom from slavery or servitude, the right to fair hearing, the right to an order of habeas corpus," he mentioned.

He added the constitution prohibits anyone from derogating from them and doing so one shall have committed a crime.

Four senior and six junior police officers are battling charges of unlawful exercise of authority and discreditable conduct  at the police disciplinary court that sits at the force headquarters in Naguru a Kampala suburb.

They were deemed to have applied excessive force in their line of duty. They pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the aggressive dispersal of supporters of Besigye.

The suspects include: Kaggwa, Bamuzibire, Nanoka and Muhumuza are accused alongside constables James Wanjala, Kenneth Muhangi, Moses Agaba, Sula Kato, Willy Kalyango and Dan Tandeka, a crime preventer.

Bamuzibire and Muhumuza asked Awich to tell court whether he was in position of identifying the officers he watched on television beating up civilians.  

Awich replied that he was not after identifying suspects but the interest was in the conduct the officers exhibited while executing their duty.

Muhangi asked Awich to explain why Gen Kayihura invited him to testify against them among the thousands of human rights experts in country.

Awich said: "I did not apply to be a witness in this case. I was summoned by the IGP. You should blame him for choosing me to testify against you instead of other people."

The case was adjourned to August 11, when the court will decide whether the suspects have a case to answer or not.  

Meanwhile a fresh charge of neglect of duty was also clouted on two senior police officers.
The state prosecutor in the trial said Bamuzibire, former Kampala Metropolitan Field Force police commander and Muhumuza, former KMP South operations commander, neglected their duty when they did not stop the officers they were commanding from beating Besigye's supporters.

"I would like to amend the charge sheet and include a third count on two of the senior officers for neglecting their duty when they did not restrain their juniors from beating the civilians," prosecution said.

However, they both pleaded not guilty against the new count.

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