European Union Urges Uganda to End Torture in Prisoners

European Union Urges Uganda to End Torture in Prisoners

The European Union urges punishment for perpetrators of torture in Uganda. The call came after local media photos published a photo of the scars of a writer who was recently detained by the authorities.

Last week Ugandan media published a photo and recognition of award-winning author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija. The 33-year-old man admitted that he was tortured while being detained by security officers.

Ummatimes - The EU delegation in Uganda said "reports of torture, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, harassment and attacks on human rights defenders" sparked public outrage.

"Those who violate Ugandan laws must be held personally responsible for their actions," the delegation said in a statement Monday (7/2/2022).

Police spokesman Fred Enanga did not respond to a request for comment. The opposition and some Western governments have long accused President Yoweri Museveni of using security forces to intimidate and attack opposition, critics and human rights activists.

The government has always denied these accusations, saying they were false. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of cases of human rights violations were punished.

Rukirabashaija's lawyer, a satirical novelist, said his client was arrested on December 28. He was held for more than a month until a court ordered his release on charges relating to criticism of Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1985.

His lawyer said that throughout most of his detention Rukirabashaija was not allowed to communicate. He was brought to justice after pressure from within and outside the country, including from the United States (US) and the European Union.

On television, the writer said that while in detention he was beaten in the stomach, kicked, hit with the butt of a gun and forced to dance. He said his torturer used pliers to injure his body.

Online media and television broadcasts showed his back, legs, hands and other body parts covered with scars. The photos sparked an outcry on social media.

On Friday (4/2/2022), in a statement, the US embassy asked that the perpetrators of torture be brought to justice. On television, Rukirabashaija said someone holding him asked if he was sponsored by the US embassy or the European Union.

Rukirabashaija won the PEN Pinter Prize for her bravery as a writer. He wrote a novel entitled "The Greedy Barbarian", which tells the story of corruption in a fictional country. Many interpret the novel as telling Museveni.