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ANALYSIS: Nalufenya torture

The late Felix Kaweesi

Byamukama’s about-turn

In an added twist to the case, Byamukama has since his arrest been heaping praise on the police. He has announced that he will not take any legal action. Even his wife, who has been running to the media to plead her husband’s freedom, has suddenly gone quiet. The Independent could reach neither Byamukama nor his wife to comment on this story.

Earlier, when another torture suspect, Godfrey Musisi, who was at Nalufenya when Byamukama was tortured, made a statement before his lawyer giving great detail of what happened to him, Byamukama appeared to contradict it.

Musisi said he suspected Byamukama had been forced to say otherwise. Indeed, ASP Patrick Muramira, who was arrested over Byamukama’s torture, also corroborated Musisi’s claims.

“We arrested him through phone tracking. We introduced ourselves and explained to him about the ongoing investigations about Kaweesi. We put him in a van and brought him here (Nalufenya),” said Muramira, “The Mayor was delivered here without any open would or a scratch. He walked from the van to the counter. We can view the images on the CCTV cameras.”

Muramira was talking to MPs. Him, ASP Fred Tumuhirwa, drivers Ben Odeke and Roma Habibu had been arrested and detained in Nalufenya over allegations of torturing Byamukama.

Musisi, who had just been released on bail in June said that the first time they took Byamukama for interrogation, it was in the wee hours of the morning.

When they brought him back, it was clear he had been beaten but he was still walking. But on the third time, they brought him carrying him, he couldn’t walk.

He spent that whole night crying in pain. On the second night, he was already dripping pus.

One of the detainees banged the door and asked that they take him or else he would die. He had spent three days crying in pain. That is when Byamukama was rushed to Jinja Hospital, where the medical attendants failed to manage him, then to Nsambya and lastly Nakasero Hospital.

Musisi also revealed that one of the other detainees, one Joshua Kyambadde’s brother died under torture, and another suffocated and died as they were being tortured.

These revelations sparked public outrage and forced Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to launch a parliamentary investigation into what appeared to have become a pervasive misconduct with in security circles.

“How can one explain the electric shock, the knocking out of teeth, the breaking of knee caps, the ironing of a person’s body, the introduction of noxious [harmful] substances into the orifices of a person?” Kadaga said.

Torture is not an issue of the Police disciplinary committee, she said, It is a matter of crime against humanity, it is a breach of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, and the perpetrators must be arrested and charged in an open court.

“We need to see justice done,” she said.

The state minister for internal affairs, Mario Obiga-Kania, apologised for the torture of suspects. He informed parliament that the police have already arrested four officers for criminal trial in the courts of law.

Kadaga ordered an investigation.

As the revelations about torture continued to spark outrage, President Museveni, in a letter to the CDF and police chief also attacked the use of torture to extract confessions from suspects.

Legislator Muwanga Kivumbi, a member of the defense and internal affairs committee, was the first to raise a red flag about Nalufenya early this year.

Indeed, a report by ACTV, a body that rehabilitates torture victims, reveals that police accounts for majority of the over 6000 Ugandan survivors of torture that the they have interacted with in the past six years.

Some of the worst torturers at Nalufenya are known. Victims reportedly told Rwakafuzi that they Minaana and Kasiba.

“They are so brutal,” he said, “they tell the inmates that even the President allowed them to kill. At CMI, he said, a key torturer is Ali Eriasa. Other victims mentioned others like Muhangi and Nickson Ayesigire, who led the operations.

The two officers were never investigated or apprehended and police has never come out to clarify on the allegations against them. Most of the offenders keep on their jobs, are reshuffled like Ayesigire who became a police attaché in Turkey.

“For as long as the officers who are behind these violations are not punished, not fired,” said Rwakafuzi as the interview drew to the end, “there is no justice for these victims, there is no accountability from the authorities. It is impunity. It is inexcusable.”

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