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Activists launch campaign to document torture cases

FILE PHOTO: MP Francis Zaake was tortured while in police custody last year

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Youth Activists have launched a campaign to document torture cases in the country.

Dubbed “Speak Up against Torture Black Book” the campaign was launched on Thursday at Emerald Hotel.

The activists are organized under the Alternative Social Movement, the Red Top Brigade Movement, Jobless brotherhood and lawyers from Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates.

Herman Tumuhimbise, the Chairperson Alternative Social Movement says that all torture cases will be documented in a black book which will serve as evidence of acts of torture.

In the book, torture victims are required to register their personal details and name their perpetrator if they know them. Victims are also required to avail a copy of a medical form to prove they were tortured.

The books will be stationed at offices of Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates in Kampala.

Kenneth Ayine, a lawyer with the law firm says torture victims should speak out and fight for their rights. He says victims of both physical and psychological torture should join the campaign to expose their perpetrators.

Charles Mutasa Kafeero, one of the alleged torture victims says he was tortured by security personnel in 2015. Kafeero says that he was arrested returning from a political talk show and taken to an unknown place where he was tortured for eight days.

Torture is a crime under the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act. The 2012 Act is intended to ensure respect of human dignity and protection from inhuman treatment by prohibiting and preventing any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The law criminalizes torture and gives effect to the obligations of Uganda as a State Party to the United Nation’s Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and other related matters.

However, cases of torture have continued to be registered in the country. According to Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) report 2017, a total of 1,658 torture cases were registered between 2012 and 2016.

The African Centre for Rehabilitation and Treatment of Torture Victims (ACTV) also registers more than 1,000 cases of torture every year.

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