Bobi Wine supporters sue over human rights violations

Thursday January 14 2021
supporters

Supporters and aides of National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, in the dock at Masaka Magistrate’s Court on January 4, 2020. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA

By Anthony Wesaka
By Juliet Kigongo

Jailed supporters of National Unity Platform (NUP), the party of opposition candidate Bobi Wine, have filed a petition at the High Court in Kampala that accuses the government of violating their human rights, including prosecuting them in two separate courts at the same time.

The 49 supporters, who were arrested while on their way to Kalangala to campaign for Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, are led by Buken Ali, aka Nubian Li, and Edward Ssebufu aka Eddie Mutwe.

“A declaration that the concurrent trial of the applicants (NUP supporters) before the Chief Magistrates Court of Masaka and the General Court Martial, Makindye, violates their rights guaranteed under the 1995 Constitution,” the petitioners state.

They have listed the Attorney General, Chief of Defence Forces, Commissioner General Uganda Prisons and the Inspector General of Police as respondents.

No powers to detain

Through their lawyers, the remanded NUP supporters want the court to pronounce that the military does not have powers to detain them whether at the barracks or anywhere else.

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Further, they want the court to pronounce that their detention, torture, arraignment and trial contravenes the Constitution and tenets of separation of powers. They also want the court to hold security forces liable for their mental anguish and emotional stress.

By press time yesterday (Wednesday) , the State was yet to respond to the suit before a hearing date can be set.

Arrests

The petitioners stated that on December 29, 2020 they, alongside other supporters of Wine, were arrested by a joint taskforce of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and police who did not have nametags. They say the security officers were covered from head to toe with gear concealing their identities.

“The applicants were driven to Masaka Police Station while others were taken to Kasijagirwa military barracks, respectively where they were detained. They were denied access to their lawyers, next of kin and medical doctors and the officers to the respondents refused to disclose their whereabouts to any of their family members and lawyers,” their next of kin state in their sworn affidavits.

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