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Rights body to assist Kwoyelo

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Former LRA commander Thomas Kwoyelo being escorted to the  High Court in Gulu last year.

Former LRA commander Thomas Kwoyelo being escorted to the High Court in Gulu last year. PHOTO BY MOSES AKENA 

By Bill Oketch

Posted  Wednesday, January 2  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Freedom cry. The former LRA commander, who is seeking amnesty, accuses the government of unlawfully detaining him.

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The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has assured former LRA commander, Thomas Kwoyelo, that his complaint against the government will be tabled next month for consideration.

In a December 7 letter addressed to Kwoyelo’s lawyer, Mr John Francis Onyango, the commission’s secretary, Dr Mary Maboreke, said the petition would be presented from February 18 to 25 in Banjul, The Gambia.

“I write to acknowledge receipt of your complaint filed against the Republic of Uganda, dated October 19, 2012. The complaint will be tabled for consideration before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 13th extraordinary session scheduled to be held from February 18th to 25th, 2013 in Banjul, The Gambia,” the letter reads in part.

On October 19, last year, Kwoyelo’s lawyer, wrote to the ACHPR, accusing the government of unlawfully detaining him. The former LRA commander, who joined the rebel group as a child soldier, says he has no idea when his case will be finalised although he was to be released, as the government has kept him in cells incognito.

The alleged denial of his right to liberty contravenes the African Charter, which the government ratified in May 1986. Mr Onyango, in the application to the ACHPR said: “Uganda should have protected Kwoyelo as a child and is now illegally detaining him indefinitely.”

He added: “When Kwoyelo was remanded to Luzira Maximum Security Prison, he renounced and abandoned his involvement in rebellion in whatever form against the government of Uganda and qualified under Section 3 of the Amnesty Act to be granted amnesty.”

Kwoyelo, said to have been the fourth in LRA command, was captured more than two years ago in the DR Congo during a UPDF military operation. The High Court and the Constitutional Court have both ruled that Mr Kwoyelo qualified for and should be granted an amnesty.

At least 24,000 people have been freed under the 2010 Amnesty Act.

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