What you need to know:
- Ms Mackenzie Leing Mathias Spencer and Mr Nicholas Spencer are accused of administering harsh punishments to the child, depriving him of the right to education and keeping him locked in a small room that served as his bedroom.
An American couple living in Naguru in Kampala have been remanded to Luzira prison after being charged before court with allegedly torturing a 10-year-old, who is also HIV positive.
Ms Mackenzie Leing Mathias Spencer and Mr Nicholas Spencer are accused of administering harsh punishments to the child, depriving him of the right to education and keeping him locked in a small room that served as his bedroom.
The child in question, whose name is withheld because he is a minor, is a foster child of the couple.
According to the charge sheet presented to Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court last Friday, the duo is facing aggravated torture charges contrary to the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012.
“Mackenzie Leing Mathias Spencer and Nicholas Spencer between 2020 and December 2022 at Naguru in the Kampala District committed an act of torture against [name withheld] aged 10 years old,” the charge sheet presented before the court by the prosecution reads in part.
Presiding Grade One Magistrate Sarah Tusiime Bashaija remanded the couple to prison until Wednesday when they will be returned to court for a bail application.
In an interview with the caregiver of the boy in question, who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, she said she reported the case to the police after she noticed the deteriorating condition of the boy.
“I wanted to leave the job, but I knew if I left without doing something about it, the torture would continue,” she said.
The caregiver said the couple was fostering three children, but only tortured one whom they said was stubborn and hyperactive, accused him of being mentally unstable and, therefore, administered punishments and torture as a way of getting him in line.
According to the statement that the caregiver recorded at Kira Police Station, the 10-year-old boy was subjected to sitting in a small room on a cold tiled floor without clothes on, sleeping on a bed without a mattress, and having a camera installed in his room to monitor all his movements.
Daily Monitor also learnt that he was reportedly stopped from going to school four months ago.
Ms Christine Tumuhairwe, a lawyer who was working with the caregiver to collect evidence against the couple, told this publication that the boy’s punishments were administered following a list of ‘wrongdoings’. He said the evidence was handed over to police
If convicted, the couple could serve a life sentence in prison as prescribed in the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture act 2012. All three children are now in the custody of the police in a temporary foster home as they await placement into another foster home