Tuesday May 13 2014

Police cautioned on torture

By Michael J Ssali

Masaka- The Masaka region human rights officer, Mr Willy Agirembabazi, has asked police and prisons officers to stop torturing suspects and prisoners.

Speaking during a human rights workshop organised for police and prisons officers in Masaka last week, Mr Agirembabazi said: “Torture is illegal and any security officer who perpetuates it will be personally held responsible for any damages caused to the victims.”
According to Mr Agirembabazi, the law proposes a maximum sentence of 15 years on conviction and life imprisonment where evidence of criminality is availed.

Recent reports have implicated security agencies as some of the worst perpetrators of torture.

The Constitution requires law enforcement officers to observe and respect human rights and freedoms while performing their functions.
Mr Albert Mwebaze, a legal officer in the Uganda Human Rights Commission, told the workshop that it wa
s also an abuse of human rights to parade suspects before the public and media.

Police have been accused of torturing suspects during arrests and transportation of suspects. Other forms of torture have been cited during interrogation and illegal detention of suspects beyond the mandated hours.

The law, according to Mr Mwebaze, forbids any form of cruel or inhuman treatment, such as undressing a person in public, slapping or kicking or caning a person.

Uganda Human Rights Commission recently said a number of victims keep silent about torture due to ignorance or intimidation by perpetrators.