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Police on spot over alleged torture during arrest

By Moses Walubiri

Added 3rd October 2018 07:02 PM

The issue of highhandedness of police officers during arrest of suspects has for years been a staple in a number of UHRC reports.

Police on spot over alleged torture during arrest

The issue of highhandedness of police officers during arrest of suspects has for years been a staple in a number of UHRC reports.

Suspects at the Central Police station in Kampala

Scenes of armed police officers pushing arrested and subdued suspects under seats of patrol cars, sometimes stepping on them in the process have over the years lost their novelty.

But to legislators sitting on the Human Rights Committee of Parliament, such scenes are yet to lose their power to shock and sully the image of Uganda Police Force.

Appearing before lawmakers on the aforementioned committee earlier Wednesday, the state minister for internal affairs, Obiga Kania, was tasked to explain why errant police officers torturing Ugandans are not brought to book despite the enactment of the Anti-torture Act.

Obiga Kania and the top brass of Uganda Police Force (UPF) led by Deputy Inspector General of Police Brigadier Muzei Sabiiti in tow were at parliament to answer queries raised in the 20th annual report of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).

Committee chairperson, Jovah Kamateka (Mitooma District), Safia Nalule Juuko (Woman Representative -PWD) and Veronica Bichetero Eragu (Kaberamaido County) exhorted Kania to throw the book at errant police officers sullying police's image.

"The torture of people is going on in the full glare of cameras. The beating of arrested suspects by officers in uniform is so disheartening. This practice has given police a reputation of a brutal force," Bichetero said.

Although conceding to the accusations of ‘mishandling' of apprehended suspects, Kania was bullish, telling lawmakers that torture is not a practice that is condoned by Uganda Police Force.

However, in his response he failed to address the concerns raised by lawmakers instead talking about suspects that resist arrest.

"Ugandans don't like to be arrested yet it's a normal thing. If a suspect resists arrest, then the arresting officer has power to use more force than he would have ordinarily applied," Kania said.

The issue of highhandedness of police officers during arrest of suspects has for years been a staple in a number of UHRC reports.

And every time the issue is raised, those in the top echelon of Uganda Police Force promise to address the issue. 

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