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Police Tops List of Torture Perpetrators in New Report

UHRC's Dr. Amooti Katabalirwe launching the report.

A report released by the Uganda Human Rights Commission has ranked police on top of the list of torture perpetrators for the third consecutive year.

The 19th annual report of the UHRC was released on Thursday at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.

The report comes on the backdrop of torture allegations against police by suspected murderers of former police spokesperson Felix Kaweesi.

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According to the report, order police accounts for 255 complaints of torture recorded by the Human Rights Commission during the survey year of 2016.

40 cases of torture were recorded to have been perpetrated by national army the UPDF and 25 by Uganda Prisons Services.

Police’s Special Investigations Division, page Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force (JAAT) and Internal Security Organization (ISO) were some of those mentioned to be direct perpetrators of torture in the report.

“UHRC has established that torture mostly occurs during arrest and pre- trial detention of suspects in both gazetted places such as police cells and ungazetted ones like torture chambers or safe houses,” reads the report in part explaining it is done as a tool of investigation to obtain information.

Police came in the spotlight a few weeks ago when gruesome photos of tortured Kamwenge mayor Godfrey Byamukama went viral, attracting public wrath towards the force.

It is alleged that he was tortured from Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja district.

In response, the police spokesperson AIGP Asan Kasingye who had earlier denied arrest of Byamukama, owned up saying he had got wounds when he got engaged in a fight with officers during his arrest.

The Uganda Human Rights Commission report indicates extraction of confessions and also a need to obtain information as the reason behind torture especially by security agencies.

The report recommends prosecution of individual errant officers accused of perpetrating torture under the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Act, 2012.

“Officers should be equipped with modern investigating skills on top of investment in training and re-retraining.”

Address in journalists early this week, Dr.Katabalirwe said there are a number of facilities throughout the country where torture of suspects is orchestrated apart from the infamous Nalufenya.

He said their survey showed that weapons like hammers, gun butts and buttons among others are used in the torture chambers.

President Museveni recently warned security chiefs against torture, a method he described as being outdated in collecting information from suspects.

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