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Prison boss summoned over torture allegations

By Barbra Kabahumuza and Michael Odeng

Added 3rd September 2020 07:16 PM

On July 21, the complainants sued Kiyimba, Woniala and the Government in the Civil Division of the High Court, demanding compensation over alleged torture.

Prison boss summoned over torture allegations

court

On July 21, the complainants sued Kiyimba, Woniala and the Government in the Civil Division of the High Court, demanding compensation over alleged torture.

The Chief Magistrates' Court in Wakiso district has summoned the LC3 chairperson of Kyengera town council and the deputy officer in charge of Kitalya Prison over allegations of torture.

Chief Magistrate Esther Nakadama summoned Haji Abdul Kiyimba and Philimon Woniala, following a complaint lodged by seven people, led by Henry Mukiibi.

Others complainants are Ashraf Walugembe, Ivan Kawooya, Saddam Kateregga, Joel Edward Oketch, Raj Juuko and Denis Ssamula.

"Your attendance is necessary to answer to the charge of committing torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment," states the summons seen by New Vision.

The complainants claim they were arrested from their residence in Nkokonjeru during an operation spearheaded by Haji Kiyimba.

Kiyimba accused them of flouting the presidential ban on public gatherings because they were crowded in one house. The complainants claim they were beaten by Kiyimba and subjected to insults.

Petition

On July 21, the complainants sued Kiyimba, Woniala and the Government in the Civil Division of the High Court, demanding compensation over alleged torture. According to court documents, the complainants were arrested and later charged with ‘doing a negligent act likely to spread COVID-19, before the Chief Magistrates' Court at Mpigi.

They were then remanded to Kitalya Prison, where they were held for over 50 days. Documents seen by New Vision indicate that during the first 42 days of detention, lawyers from Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum were denied access to the accused, until the High Court issued an order directing that they be granted access to them.

Following the court order, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided to withdraw the charges against the accused and they were set free. Declarations The complainants seek a declaration that the prison officer's action of subjecting applicant Walugembe to burning using a hot piece of firewood violated his right to freedom from torture.

The complainants want Haji Kiyimba and Woniala to be held personally liable for their actions. HRAPF advocacy and strategic litigation officer Susan Baluka said whereas Uganda ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and enacted the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012, there is still a huge gap when it comes to law enforcement.

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