An American national who was arrested in Lira town together with his pregnant wife and three others has been released on Police bond by Lira District Police Commander (DPC) Ashraf Chemonges Seiko.
By Hudson Apunyo
LIRA - An American national who was arrested in Lira town together with his pregnant wife and three others has been released on Police bond by Lira District Police Commander (DPC) Ashraf Chemonges Seiko.
Phil James Wilmot, 24, was arrested on December 6, together with his wife and three others and transferred to the Special Investigation Command headquarters in Kireka, a Kampala suburb, on Tuesday.
He said the charge of treason preferred against the group could not stand. “They should have been charged under the Public Order Management Act with the offense of unlawful assembly.”
Manshur said the group were released to give time for further investigations.
“All those who were in the meeting and the owner of the hotel where the meeting took place should record statement,” he said.
After interrogations in Kirekka, they were returned to Lira and released hours later. They are supposed to report to the Police on December 18.
Others who were detained are Susan Abong Wilmot, 27, Tony Fred Okullu, 28 a student, Vincent Orach, 25, and Ambrose Ocen, 27 a councillor in Dokolo district.
Phil said in a statement that they are not yet free as they are yet to hear the outcome of the investigations, plain cloth government authorities continue to trail them, and those who visit them are
threatened with arrest.
The arrest was widely circulated on American social media and calls for their release poured to both Uganda Embassy in Washington and the US embassy in Kampala.
Phil’s parents Cindi and Dan Wilmot stated that they were not worried about him, but the other people
“We have been humbled by the outpouring of love and support for Phil and his entire family and are very grateful for all of the prayers of thousands of people, many of whom we do not know.” Cindi Wilmot wrote on her Facebook page.
Phil, according to his mother, moved to Uganda in May and started an Organisation called Solidarity Uganda whose goal is to promote peace and justice throughout the country.
Phil said there has been much concern as to why an American has been detained for more than the constitutionally accepted 48 hours. He said people should instead question why anybody should be held in inhumane conditions before being convicted of any crime.
“Let us shift our focus to the situation at large, rather than focusing on my personal arrest.”
Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer who is representing the group said the arrest of his clients was without basis.
“It was an action in haste and abuse of Police powers by the DPC of Lira.” Opiyo said.
He said this has been the action of this particular DPC wherever he has been. “While at Jinja Road Police Station, Mukono Police Station, Kasangati Police station and now Lira Police Station, he has been over enthusiastic and reckless in his actions. In the process abusing people's rights.”
American released on Police bond