The Police have been condemned for being partisan and torturing Ugandans opposed to the removal of article 102(b).
The particular article in the constitution bars Ugandans above 75 years from running for President.
Lifting the age cap will enable the current president to run for a sixth term. The presidential age debate has led to protests from major opposition parties led by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Police has so far detained 48 protectors including 25 Makerere University students.
During a press conference at their offices, Meddie Mulumba, the acting chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), noted that the findings show that Police uses excessive force against Ugandans opposing the bill.
Mulumba said the use of teargas and violent handling of suspects by Police while dispersing crowds has led to some people sustaining physical injuries and that some injuries have been fatal.
“We strongly condemn the use of live bullets by Police to disperse crowds that are unarmed and we remind them of their duty to observe human rights as they carry out their work,” he said.
Stellah Italai, 35, from Soroti district and a member of the FDC was one of the people detained during the protests. She said she was on her way for a post-natal doctor’s appointment at Case hospital in Wandegeya, outside Makerere University when she was brutally arrested.
“I was kicked, beaten mercilessly, brutally arrested and thrown into the back of a Police truck. While in the Police patrol car I bled uncontrollably. I had just given birth four days earlier and I was in severe pain,” the mother of three said.
Italai said she spent most of the night either standing or sitting on the cold floor due to congestion in the single room Police cell. She said she was threatened with rape during detention.
Italai said that her late father Oriokot Moses, also an FDC party member was gunned down as he returned home in September 2009.
“My father was shot dead by unknown people as he was approaching home. We got the news in the morning. Nothing was taken from him, up to now no one has ever been held accountable,” she said.
When contacted the Police spokesperson, Asan Kasingye said he was yet to get details on the protesters arrested in various parts of the country.
According to a Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) report released last year, a total of 1,658 torture cases were registered between 2012 and 2016.