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Lawyers petition court over Rukirabashaija’s continued detention

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is under police custody. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The lawyers representing novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija have petitioned the Makindye Magistrates Court over his continued detention.

Kakwenza was arrested four days ago from his home at Rave Apartments in Kisaasi by armed security personnel.

Through his lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates, they contend that Kakwenza has been detained at an unknown facility and that Uganda Police Force that arrested him refused to disclose, yet his file is being managed at the Cyber Crimes Unit of Police in Kibuli.

His lawyer Morgan Muhindo says that Kakwenza has since been held incommunicado, with his lawyers, family and friends denied access which is a violation of his constitutional right to liberty and fair hearing.

Lawyer Eron Kiiza says that they want court to order the government to unconditionally release Kakwenza. The date for hearing the case is yet to be fixed.

On Thursday, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said that the cybercrime department is investigating Kakwenza for offensive communication.

In 2020, Kakwenza was arrested twice in a space of six months. He was first arrested on April 13 from his home in Iganga district allegedly by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and detained in Mbuya. He was later charged with doing an act likely to spread an infectious disease following a post on his Facebook page related to COVID-19.

He was later granted bail but again arrested in September of the same year and his lawyers said it was in relation to his book titled, “The Banana Republic”, in which he had written about his experience under CMI custody earlier.

He had also previously written a book titled, “The Greedy Barbarian” in which he talked about a greedy and incompetent dictator Kayibanda who clings to power for 43 years.

In October 2021, Kakwenza was awarded as the Winner of International Writer of Courage at the PEN Pinter Prize function and this annual award is normally presented to a person who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.

Kakwenza has since sued the government seeking compensation for infringement of his rights after he was illegally detained in 2020 where he was reportedly tortured and kept incommunicado. But his case is yet to be determined by the Civil Division of the High Court.



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