In Summary

  • The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012, imposes up to seven-year imprisonment penalty on anyone convicted for torture and makes individual officers liable for commissions in official capacity.
  • These despicable deeds of borderless viciousness by police draw parallels with the ignominy of Guantanamo Bay where US interrogators wantonly abused suspects detained over the 9/11 attacks.

Police have announced a creative way they hope will placate Ugandans outraged by increasing cases of blatant torture of suspects in custody.

According to the Force’s spokesman Asan Kasingye, errant officers will be paraded before journalists to account in person for their roles.
Torture is both unconstitutional and criminal.

Article 24 of the (amended) 1995 Constitution states that “no person shall be subjected to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
Kamwenge Town Council chairman Geoffrey Byamukama has become the new poster child of State brutality. Police officers arrested and held him incommunicado for a month during which they crippled and left him with eye-sore and frightening injuries. Like him, other suspects incarcerated over the March 17 killing of ex-police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his driver and guard limped in court with damaged feet or wounded torso. Just how cruel!
They alleged that they were tortured at Nalufenya detention centre to confess.

These despicable deeds of borderless viciousness by police draw parallels with the ignominy of Guantanamo Bay where US interrogators wantonly abused suspects detained over the 9/11 attacks.
We espouse the State’s responsibility to keep citizens safe by preventing crime, arresting and prosecuting and punishing criminals as by law established.
Persecuting individuals as is being done by police, and other state agents, is abhorrent and must not only be countenanced but also punished.

The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012, imposes up to seven-year imprisonment penalty on anyone convicted for torture and makes individual officers liable for commissions in official capacity.
Section 10 of this Act holds superiors responsible for tortures committed by subordinates if the supervisor knew, or consciously disregarded information, which clearly indicated, that the subordinate was committing or about to commit an act of torture. This is instructive. Police officers in the command chain up to the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, who have administrative control over the errant officers at Nalufenya, must bear responsibility.
We welcome President Museveni’s May 15 three-point guidance to security and intelligence chiefs that torture as a tactic of interrogation is valueless because a wrong or innocent person could be victimised; that someone is likely to admit guilt just to be spared pains of torture; and, it diverts interrogators away from meticulous pursuit of the truth.
These common sense issues should constitute standard operating procedures for our security forces.

Our resolute position is that, rather than the self-edifying manoeuvre to parade implicated officers to account on camera, police must altogether stop torturing suspects.