International law forbids the use of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.27 According to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
“torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.28
Uganda has ratified both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). It has not, however, made a declaration under Article 22 of the CAT allowing the Committee Against Torture, the United Nations (U.N.) body which monitors compliance with the CAT, to consider complaints by individuals from Uganda. Nor has it ratified the new Optional Protocol to the CAT allowing visits to Uganda by the Committee against Torture’s Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.29 The Ugandan constitution also outlaws torture.30
Despite these government commitments in international and national law, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission (UHRC), a government-created body,31 says, “torture is on the increase and, during the period under review [January 2001-September 2002], more cases than ever had been received” by the Commission.32 According to the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), a Ugandan human rights group, “since 2001, many human rights violations in breach of the rights to life, liberty and security of person have been recorded.”33 Human Rights Watch’s recent interviews with prisoners and others in Uganda confirm these conclusions.
The types of torture being now committed in Ugandan ungazetted illegal detention places (“safe houses”) include kandoya (tying hands and feet behind the victim); suspension from the ceiling while tied kandoya; water torture or “Liverpool” (forcing the victim to lie face up, mouth open, while the spigot is turned on into his mouth); severe beatings with hands, fists, pistols, metal rods, and wooden sticks with nails protruding; death threats, including putting the nozzle of a pistol into the victim’s mouth, showing him fresh graves, dead bodies, or snakes; putting the victim in the back of a vehicle where his captors sit or put their boots on him; abusive language and threats; and kicking with boots all parts of the body.
The torture includes the gang rape of females; and mutilating the male genitalia of suspects, through kicking, beating with sticks, puncturing with hypodermic needles, and tying the penis with wire or weights. The male genital torture cases that Human Rights Watch found are far from the only ones: the UHRC ordered the government to pay damages to a man who was tortured for ninety-three days and who “is not a man anymore.”34 In many cases, victims are refused medical treatment. Some have died as a result of these and other acts.
The majority of cases of torture reported to Human Rights Watch concerned prisoners picked up for their actual or alleged political activities—though torture is also practiced against people suspected of ordinary crimes and in cases of personal vendetta (see below, under “Operation Wembley”). Many of the political cases concern supporters or alleged supporters of 2001 opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye, the coalition that supported him known after the election as Reform Agenda, or the alleged rebel group some of his supporters are supposed to have formed, the People’s Redemption Army.
Other cases concern the rebel groups Allied Democratic Forces and the National Democratic Army, and their alleged followers. In several cases the individuals concerned were simply accused of treason or terrorism with no named allegiance to a particular rebel group. Many who end up bleeding in UPDF barracks and CMI offices are not combatants, but civilians. These may be persons suspected of providing money, information, goods, and/or services to the rebels, such as finding recruits. These people have been captured in their homes or fields in rural areas, often their workplaces, quite apart from any hostilities. In many cases, suspects believe they were detained only because they personally knew those alleged to be fomenting rebellion, whether from place of origin, school, living abroad, marriage, or other relationship.35
James was forcefully pulled from a bus by three uniformed men and four civilians, all armed, in October 2001. The men bundled him onto the floor of a double cabin pickup and stepped on him.
“I live under fear. I have nothing to do, only to bear this. I have nothing to hide,” he said almost two years later, having lived through terrible torture, including “Liverpool,” kandoya, strangulation, and severe beatings, requiring hospitalization. He was released without charges at the end of October 2001, although the army described him in comments to the press as a “terrorist.” James had been a mobilizer for candidate Kizza Besigye in early 2001.37 A few months later he worked in the political campaign of another reform candidate for local office. At his arrest in October 1, 2001, he was taken to the Masaka UPDF barracks. He was interrogated about the whereabouts of another candidate whose election he had worked for, but mostly he was asked about Kizza Besigye: what was discussed with him, what plans did he have for activities after the elections, who helped Besigye leave the country, and so on.
Then a sergeant told the soldiers, “Take him to the theatre.” He was placed on the floor, blindfolded, of what he imagined was the “theatre.” They poured water over him and beat him with wire cables. They beat him all over his body, stepped on him with their boots, and hit him in the head with a board with nails on it; he has three scars on his head. They took off his blindfold, said, “Look here,” and slapped red peppers on his eyes. He was in tears and briefly lost consciousness. They tied his hands and his legs behind him with a sisal rope, beat him more, and poured water on him. A sergeant and a major took James out behind the barracks and told him he should say his last words before he was killed, showing him graves planted with grass, and saying, “There are people down there, you will be one if you do not cooperate.”
They told him that Kizza Besigye was a rebel and demanded that he give them details about this. He told them he had never heard anything about this but the soldiers were obviously dissatisfied with his answer. Although he could not walk because he had been beaten on the ankles and his hands and legs were still tied together with the rope, they pulled him by the rope into another room, where there was a TV and three soldiers. They put him on his stomach on the floor and stepped on his legs and hit him in the right buttocks with a hammer. He started to bleed and there was blood all over him. He could taste blood in his mouth as well.
His chief tormentor strangled him until James felt he would die; the torturer put his hands around his windpipe and strangled him from behind while James was still on his stomach. They finally untied him and moved him to another room, remarking that since he had not cooperated they would let him “face the consequences.”
James wanted to run away but could not. He had cuts on his right knee, and a large bruise. His right thigh and his lower left leg were cut and later required stitches. He was taken to a uniport 38 where three other men, also badly beaten, were kept. He was ordered to touch two wires and he felt a great shock. He “felt that I was not on earth,” and cried. After five minutes they asked if he had anything to tell them.
Later he was put in a fortified room with a vent above the door, at the entrance to the barracks; he thought it was the quarter guard room.39 They pushed him inside and left him without food or water—but first they poured six basins of water over him as he lay on the ground. They untied his hands. His eyes pained him and he washed his eyes and tried to wash the blood off his face and body. He had no cover to sleep under and no clean water. He drank water that was left on the floor to survive.
Several days later he was called to an office and given a paper to write out his statement. He protested that he did not know anything. After he spent two and a half weeks in the Masaka barracks, his mother went there to look for him, and was turned away by the soldiers. The next day she returned, with two women, insisting on seeing him, and the soldiers cocked their guns at the women to make them go away.
His captors took him in a special hire car to the Kampala headquarters of CMI where he met a captain, who was shocked at the prisoner’s appearance. “I was rotting so the captain sent me to Mbuyo military hospital,” he said.
He was first put in a hospital room with lice; he had to lie on the cement floor where he slept for two days on a torn rubber poncho. He heard a doctor tell someone to take him back to the barracks, as they had many casualties coming in. He was moved to a cell at the hospital gate instead, and kept in handcuffs on a small bed. He stayed there for ten or twelve days, with food at lunch, and water. He could not tell from inside the room whether it was day or night.
He was released without charges later that month, but the army told him that he would be rearrested if he told anyone that he was tortured. They also told him not to move from his house. He was put under surveillance and when he left his house, he was tailed.
He was afraid to go to the hospital for treatment; he went to a doctor and has medical statements and affidavits about his condition. He thought of suing, but has not. He has no faith in the system. Although he is a young man, he still cannot lift anything and has trouble bending over, writing, and when he stands up there is a pain in his chest.
Husband and wife, Adele and Ezekiel, were detained for about two weeks in May 2002 at a police station while CMI removed them daily for interrogation. The men who arrested and questioned the couple accused them of transporting rebels. The arresting agents were from a local defence unit (LDU), a locally-recruited government force, and they knew Adele by name as a Kizza Besigye campaign manager in 2001. These LDU agents beat up Ezekiel and Adele.40
The following day, CMI agents in plainclothes came to remove them, although due to police protests they were kept in police custody.41 After two weeks at several different police stations, from which they were taken daily to CMI for interrogation, they were released on police bail. The two understood that they were charged with being “a security threat.” They went home and sought proper medical treatment. They were ordered to report periodically to the Mbarara police post, which they did although they lived several hours from Mbarara.
In early June they were again arrested, separately, on one of their visits to the police post. Adele was picked up by four CMI men in civilian clothes who drove her to Kampala, blindfolding her. They took her to a “safe house” (a residence) and kept her in the corridor where she slept. This was a large detention location: the next day at 3 pm they brought in plates of food, opening and closing doors in the corridor. She counted forty-six plates. That evening they locked her in the toilet. After two nights there, she was transferred to a room with two other women. They could only talk to each other in whispers because they feared the guards. They did not receive food daily and only received a small amount of water for washing.
After three days her interrogation began: “Why did you campaign for Kizza Besigye? We will beat you seriously. If you do not want to be tortured you should agree, and we will present you on TV.” On one occasion they offered her four million Ug. Sh. (U.S. $ 2,013) to go on TV and denounce Kizza Besigye as a rebel. They wanted to know the location to which Kizza Besigye and Col. Samson Mande and others were asking her to bring weapons. She denied everything.
They moved her to a room alone and after that she spent her time, aside from interrogation, in isolation. Sometimes they handcuffed her hands in front and she spent all night like that. They would at times remove her clothes and leave her naked for a week, then bring her clothes to her. She was locked up nightly and raped on six different nights by a different soldier each night. They beat her and used needles to pierce her breasts. They also tied her across the chest with a chain under her arms and attached it to her hands, which they tied behind her. For two weeks, they would come, untie the chain, then put it back the next day, telling her all the time, “You must talk.”
Adele was told one night that, if she did not agree to their demands (to be presented on TV, accept their accusations), they would show her the “dead bodies.” The guards took her to a place in the same safe house, where they showed her bodies lined up on the floor, covered with sheets. They pulled one of the sheets off a body (revealing the head and upper torso) briefly, to show her. She caught a glimpse of a dead woman with straight hair, clothed. They threatened that she could end up like that if she did not cooperate. Adele started crying.
A week later, the guards ordered her and several other prisoners to lift what appeared to be the same bodies up and put them in a truck. The bodies emitted a big stench. The prisoners loaded thirteen bodies into the truck. They also frightened her by taking her to a balcony or veranda in the back of the safe house, on the ground floor, and showing her snakes on the ground, covered by a net. She saw about ten puff adder snakes. They beat her for about twenty minutes while they threatened to throw her in with the snakes.
She was sick and weak; at one point she lost consciousness, then she felt people at the safe house lift her up and put her in a vehicle, blindfolded. The driver took her, and her husband (who was released the same day), to Mbarara police station. The Mbarara police let them out on bond again.
She was in the safe house almost two months. On release, in August 2002, she was examined by a private doctor. Her medical statements indicate she told the doctor she had been raped by soldiers and kicked with boots in the abdomen, and he confirmed a very tender lower abdomen. She was admitted to the clinic two days later and hospitalized for ten days for a gynecological procedure. She also had to have a blood transfusion and constant drips. Her feet were swollen.
Adele’s husband, Ezekiel was picked up separately in June 2002 by DISO. Four unknown men later took him, alone, from a safe house in Kampala to a forest not far away; they were in plainclothes although one wore an army jacket. They removed his blindfold and showed him freshly covered graves. It was at night, and they were in thick bush; he did not see any houses and they were quite alone.
They forced him to lie down in a shallow grave. They said that unless he cooperated and went on TV, “this would be yours.” They wanted him (as a former campaigner for Kizza Besigye) to go on TV and say that Kizza Besigye and others asked him to recruit people for the rebels they were was organizing. They beat him to make him talk and shot in the air and on the ground near him. One man hit him in the mouth with the butt of a gun. He lost six teeth.
They said, “Let’s kill him in a different place.” They blindfolded him again and drove to a safe house where they dumped him in a room, bleeding from the teeth and beatings. There they kept taking the blindfold off and on as they continued to question him. 42
After almost two months of torture and mistreatment he was released in August, with his wife Adele (above). After release he sought medical care. The doctor’s statement was that he was beaten by soldiers, lost six teeth, and felt a lot of pain.43
Charles Ekemu unsuccessfully ran against a Movement candidate for parliament (MP) and then unsuccessfully ran as a Reform Agenda member for mayor of Soroti, eastern Uganda, in 2001. He was detained at his home in Soroti in early January, 2003, by plainclothes men, who took him to a vacant house in Soroti, blindfolded him, and tied his hands. Others were detained in Soroti on the same day by the same group.
A few hours later the captors drove him to Kampala and took him to a building where he was told to climb the stairs. He sat alone for three days blindfolded and hands tied, and was warned not to move or he would fall into a pit. He scarcely dared to sleep.
After he wrote a statement denying the accusations of being a rebel they rejected the document, saying, “You must cooperate and fill in the pages or the boys will be rough. We can keep you for one month, one week, or years. Even Museveni cannot do anything, we are the power here.” Under coercion, he wrote what they wanted.
Members of Parliament from the Teso area (eastern Uganda), his family, and others made a fuss about the arrests and incommunicado detentions—they could not locate Ekemu and the others detained in Soroti on the same day anywhere. Eight days after his arrest, he and others were taken to the police CID headquarters, where they found nine MPs waiting for them in the office of the Minister of State Security. The minister asked the prisoners, in the presence of the MPs, if they had been tortured. Outside, there was a large crowd including some of their relatives.44
He was charged on January 17, 2003, with treason for allegedly plotting between 2001 and January 2003 to overthrow the government and of establishing the PRA, with others.45 He is now out on bail and the charges against him are still pending.
Lawyer Mugisha Kafureeka, a PhD candidate, was detained as he was leaving Makerere University on April 19, 2002, where he was a lecturer in an evening class. He was taken by the police, accompanied by fifteen other vehicles full of CMI and ISO agents and members of the police CID, to his residence, which was searched without a warrant and without his permission. They proceeded to the home of relatives and detained his young cousins found there.
Although officially held at the central police station in Kampala, he was taken out on a daily basis to the headquarters of CMI to be questioned all day about his alleged activities with the Reform Agenda and with rebels believed to be associated with them. He denied everything. On the second day of his interrogation he was whipped with a long cable (rubber outside, wire inside), which the CMI officials said was “imported from South Africa for torture.”46 They ordered him to tell the truth, not satisfied with his denials of “rebel” involvement. They hit him on the buttocks and he bled, then hit him on the bottoms of his feet, and kicked him in the back with their boots. They said, “We have all power over you.” They said they could not write the “rubbish” he was telling them. He was returned to the police nightly. He was similarly beaten the following days.
After four days in detention his family took legal action and his friends alerted the press. He was then taken to CID to make a statement to the police, where he again denied everything. On the seventh day of captivity, he was taken to the Magistrates’ Court and charged with treason and misprision of treason (failing to inform officials of anyone’s intent to commit treason, or failing to try to prevent treason). From there he was taken to Kigo Prison. CMI officials had told him, “We have the capacity to keep you in prison for a minimum of one year, your life will never be the same, the state cannot take chances.” Every two weeks he was brought back to the Magistrates’ Court, where the prosecutor said, each time, “the investigation is still continuing,” and the magistrate granted the request for another two-week postponement.
He was kept in Kigo Prison for a year on this basis. On the day he was released on bail in May 2003, he was rearrested outside the court building by CMI for further questioning, then released a few days later after being kept in a garage (with several other beaten prisoners) at JATF. They were released together—after an admonishment by the head of JAFT and after CMI warned him not to try to take revenge.47
The government denies that he was tortured and maintains that he was a “recruiting coordinator for PRA.”48
Although this man took his examination and was awarded his PhD, and was not convicted of anything, he found that a number of potential employers were too fearful to hire him in any position.
On January 8, 2003, at 3 a.m. Dan Mugarura’s house was surrounded by thirty armed men in civilian clothes in five cars. The men ransacked the house, refusing to identify themselves; they had no search warrant. They arrested him.
“Who are you?” he asked. “You know,” was the answer. 49 He was blindfolded, and put in leg irons and handcuffs. In a car two of them sat on him for two hours and he fainted. He awoke in an unknown hospital room.
He was transferred to another location, where his interrogation began. “Why are you here?”50 they taunted. They asked extensively about Col. Samson Mande, who had been assigned to the diplomatic mission in Tanzania with Mugarura more than a decade before.
Mugarura was made to sleep in handcuffs.51 In another room they showed him a cage with metal bars. In it were three big snakes about eighteen inches long with yellow and black spots, and they threatened him with the snakes. Later they told him they would take him back to the room with the snakes if he did not write what they wanted. He complied.52
When his lawyer brought a habeas corpus, he was taken to the Magistrates’ Court on January 21, 2003, charged with treason and misprision of treason, and remanded to Luzira Prison.53 Much later, in late 2003, he was released on bail for medical reasons.
Patrick Mamenero Owomugisha, age twenty-five, recently married, was arrested on July 20, 2002 from his home in Kabale near the Rwanda border, with his father, Mzee Denis Mamenero. Patrick died a few days later in CMI custody; he was healthy at the time of arrest.54 According to the death certificate, Patrick died in custody of injuries (a “subdumal haemotoma”) inflicted by a blunt instrument—three days after his arrest. At the time of his death, he was allegedly en route to the military hospital.55 The certificate of death was signed July 24, 2002, by Dr. H Wabinga of Mulago Hospital, by the CMI’s admission.
The CMI admits that the victim Patrick Mamenero was hit by a a CMI soldier on guard duty on July 22, 2002, but maintains that at the time Mamenero was trying to escape. After Mamenero died of his injuries, the soldier, Cpl Obiga Mudasiru, was arrested and charged with murder on October 22, 2002, in the UPDF court martial, charge sheet reported to be DCM/GHQS/024/02. This defendant, however, is reportedly “very ill and was granted bail on medical grounds on advice to the Court of Dr Ochen of Mbuya Military Hospital.” 56 He is out on bail.57 .
CMI paid the Mamenero family about one million Uganda shillings (U.S. $ 503) as “condolences.”58 According to FHRI, Col. Noble Mayombo, head of CMI, faxed a statement that was read at the burial, carried there by Kabale Resident District Commissioner (RDC) James Mwesigye.59 The statement claimed that enemies of the government entered the CMI offices and killed Mamenero. “This, it should be noted, is a tightly guarded facility accessed only by authorised personnel,” FHRI added.60 Human Rights Watch finds the CMI explanation completely incredible.
The CMI later explained in a letter to Human Rights Watch that by “enemies of the government” it meant, in the context, “those who behaved contrary to the rule of law.”61
The CMI interrogators questioned Patrick’s father about a relative on his mother’s side, Col. Samson Mande, a former UPDF officer alleged by Ugandan authorities to be involved in forming the PRA.62 Although the father had not seen Mande for more than a decade, the interrogators did not believe him. The father’s interrogation continued later, and was joined by a top official of CMI.
The family buried Patrick while his father was still in detention (he was in jail for about ten months, before being released on bail in May 2003). The family asked CMI for permission for Patrick’s father to attend the funeral, but it was refused.63
Rasheed (or Rashid) Kawawa, a twenty-four-year-old student from western Uganda studying in Kampala, was arrested on July 14, 2001. He was tortured using plastic canes about one and a half meters long. They tied him up kandoya style for four days without being untied, and suspended him in the air for one whole night, tied up kandoya style. He was tortured for three months and then he admitted what they wanted him to say.64
He was brought to the Magistrates’ Court on Buganda Road on October 3, 2001, and charged with treason and misprision, including belonging to the ADF rebel group. Later the authorities added murder and terrorism to the charges. He signed no additional statements, however.65
The Ugandan government denies allegations of torture. It has informed us that he was charged with terrorism and murder in October 2003 and remanded to Kigo Prison. He applied for amnesty and was released in January 2004.66
Isaac Kambesa, age thirty-five, was a familiar, indeed a notorious figure in Kigo Prison when Human Rights Watch visited in June 2003. Born in the Beni district of what was then Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) on the border of the Ugandan district of Kasese, he lived there with his two wives and nine children until.he was summoned to the border on August 27, 1999 by Ugandan officials who wanted to question him “on the Uganda side.”67 He went with them and was then detained.
Thus began a four-year journey into safe houses, court, and prison, in bureaucratic limbo in Uganda. The “Ugandan side” of the border turned out to be Kampala, several hours and hundreds of kilometers away. Eight UPDF soldiers drove him there the day of his detention. He was kept in CMI offices on Kitanti Road for a week, where he was badly beaten. He was then transferred to Mbuya barracks for one week, where he was kicked and otherwise abused, then to CMI for more questioning and then to the central police station for one and a half months. He was accused of links with the ADF.
On October 27, 1999, he was taken to the Magistrates’ Court on Buganda Road and charged with treason, then sent to Kigo Prison. He was committed to the High Court (formally charged) ten months later, with seventeen Ugandan co-defendants. In 2000, the Amnesty Act was passed for those accused of treason. He and his seventeen co-defendants requested amnesty. The others were released. He was not.
The Amnesty Act, it happened, was for Ugandan citizens and did not apply to him as a citizen of DRC—despite the fact that he was accused of treason against Uganda without being a Ugandan citizen. Since the time he was formally charged, on August 24, 2000, he was not brought before any court. He complained to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) after another year in prison. He complained to the UHRC officials who visited the prison, as well as to NGOs that passed through on visits, and donors (some represented by members of the diplomatic corps) as well. He complained to other prisoners.
Prisoners and former prisoners frequently referred to him as an example of how anyone can be locked up and kept there for long periods of time, at the complete whim of officials.
Human Rights Watch brought up his case in June 2003 with the DPP who said that he was aware of it also, and that the man was to be released shortly.68 In March 2004, however, the Ugandan government was able to recite many claims against him: that he was a purchasing and recruiting officer for the ADF, that he had caused the death of several persons in his village by claiming that they were collaborating with the UPDF in Congo, and so forth.69
Human Rights Watch learned in September 2003 that Isaac Kambesa had finally been released (charges against him were dropped). He returned to Congo, after four years behind bars in Uganda.
But that is not the end of this unhappy story. Human Rights Watch was informed that, after Kambesa reached home, he found his family life had been shattered. He was regarded with suspicion by the whole community: he had disappeared four years before and reappeared without notice; saying he had been in Uganda. The eastern DRC area in the meantime was caught up in the rapidly shifting and very damaging Rwanda/Uganda/DRC war. At his return, there were many rumors that the UPDF was about to re-invade his area of Beni, which reportedly housed training camps for local militia, Interahamwe (the Rwandan militia responsible for much of the Rwandan genocide in 1994), and former army from Rwanda. The UPDF had a strong military intelligence presence inside the Beni area and therefore Congolese suspected that he was part of a UPDF advance force, coming from Uganda to recapture this part of DRC. He did not feel safe, and if the UPDF were to invade, he would feel less safe, so he fled his home.70
Martin, a special police constable attached to the army in Kasese, on the border with DRC, was in the officer’s mess on March 17, 2001, when he and the other seven men there learned of an attack on the town. He and a few others, outnumbered and surprised, tried to fight off the attackers, probably the ADF. Nevertheless, he was arrested in late March on order of the DISO and accused of having supplied weapons to the attackers.
He was taken to the UPDF barracks in Kasese (37th brigade), together with others who had also been on duty that night. Two days after his arrest, he was beaten until he was almost unconscious on the order of a UPDF captain. He was hospitalized under guard, discharged, and taken back into military custody. He was again beaten severely, threatened with a pistol in his mouth, and asked to confess that he had a meeting with local officials planning the Kasese attack. He had to be hospitalized again because of the beating, but his captors came to the hospital and threatened that he would suffer more if he did not cooperate.
CMI agents arrived to investigate while he was still in the hospital, several weeks later. He continued to deny any role in the attack—although his captors warned him not to. That night, at 11 pm, soldiers removed him from the hospital against the advice of the staff. The soldiers removed the drip from his arm and took him to Mbarara, arriving at 3 a.m. He was hospitalized again the following day in Mbarara. A concerned UPDF officer friend intervened, he was taken back to Kasese, turned over to the police, and the following day was charged with treason, then held in civilian prisons in the Kasese area. A year later, in April 2002, the prosecutor dropped all charges against him, and he was released.71
Similar treatment was meted out starting in March, 2001, to a woman, Mary, after the same attack on Kasese, which the government blamed variously on Besigye supporters or on the ADF. She had been a campaign manager for Besigye in her subcounty. Her captors, UPDF soldiers, accused her of being an ADF commander leading the attack on Kasese. They took her to Mulongwe army barracks where she, too, was tortured.
Mary, a business woman age thirty-seven and mother of four, was hit repeatedly on her feet and body with the wooden and the metal parts of hoes, and kicked in the face. The soldiers dug a hole in the ground and poured water in it. They made her stay in the hole for several days; she was only allowed out briefly. She was taken to Mobuku Prison near Kasese from late March to early April, when she was charged with treason before a magistrate. She remained in Mobuku Prison for a few months, was transferred to another prison in Fort Portal, but continued to feel sick from the torture; her eyes sometimes bled. She was hospitalized in Fort Portal.
Mary was released and the charges against her were dropped after she had been held slightly more than 360 days in detention.72
Mary was more fortunate than Hassan, age thirty-three, who was detained by a soldier of the 17th Battalion of the UPDF in Kasese in December 1999. Accused of supplying medicine to the ADF, a charge he continued to deny, he was beaten for four hours and the soldiers fired bullets above his head. The next day he was tied by his legs to a tree for two days. Then the major general ordered the soldiers to dig a hole for his prison cell. He was kept in the hole for a year. He was transferred to the 307th Brigade, where he was placed in an underground jail for three months. A friend, an officer in the UPDF, intervened and he was released on January 12, 2001, with no charges against him.73
Dr. Steven Wilson Mukama, age fifty-two, is a pharmacist by profession. He was arrested at his residence near Kampala on September 2, 2002, after midnight. He was charged in a court martial with terrorism on September 16, after severe torture in which his genitals were crushed. He was charged in a civilian court in February 2003 of plotting to overthrow the government and of forming a rebel group called the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)74 between May and December 2002, although he was locked up four of these eight months—September through December 2002.75 The government has since accused the NDA of several separate attacks.76 The NDA was originally identified with a leader who has been in exile for several years.
Armed men forced the door of his home open on September 2, searched the house and took away some property, but could not produce an arrest or search warrant. They drove Mukama, blindfolded, to several places. In the morning he was taken to what he understood later was CMI headquarters, then transferred to Operation Wembley headquarters.
The Ugandan government says that the house was searched in the presence of Mukama’s wife and five children, and that his wife and one son gave damaging information about Mukama at the time.77
This was Mukama’s first arrest. However, during the 2001 presidential campaign in which he had been active on behalf of Kizza Besigye, UPDF soldiers in civilian clothes harassed him and warned of the consequences he would face after the elections because of his support for Colonel Besigye.
When he was transferred back to CMI headquarters, he was tortured and “beaten terribly,” he said. His elbows were tightly tied behind him and after the beating he was left on the floor until morning. In the morning, eight men in plainclothes with boots began to kick him all over his body while he was on the ground, kicking him many times in the scrotum, crushing his left testicle. He was left for another six hours and, when he began to revive, was pistol-whipped on the right side of his head. On September 3 he was transferred to the army barracks at Mbuya and locked in cells with soldiers. He stayed there two weeks without interrogation or beating and without any medical treatment (except from other inmates).78
On September 15 he was taken to a police station and signed a statement under duress, fearing more torture. He was charged in a court martial the following day, despite the fact that he was a civilian.79 He finally received medical treatment when he was transferred to a civilian prison.80 The government denies that any torture occurred.81
The pain in his head persists, and he has severe headaches. He hopes to be released on medical grounds, but lacks the funds. His permanent disability is well known to other prisoners, who refer to it as an outstanding example of brutal treatment.
Ibrahim Bullu Lubega (or Ibrahim Lubega alias Bull, according to the Ugandan government) was repeatedly detained by security agent Charles (not his real name) over a period of nine years.82 The last detention, in Operation Wembley in August 2002, resulted in “Liverpool” torture, beatings and stabbings. Terrorism charges were dismissed in the court martial and he was sent to a civilian prison and charged with treason in February 2003. He remains in jail.
In June 2002, Charles went to his house to detain Lubega, not for the first time, but did not find him. Instead he quarreled with Lubega’s twenty-one-year-old brother and shot him dead. When Lubega returned home on August 24, 2002, he was arrested and he and his wife were taken to Mbarara barracks, then to a police post. His wife was released shortly thereafter. Charles and the other captors confiscated all the property in Lubega’s home, including furniture and the suspect’s clothing, that of his wife, and of his two boys. What clothing and household items they did not want, they ruined by pouring water over it.83
The government claims that Lubega was denied as he was attempting with others to rob a home at Kaberebere, Mbarara, killing a local defence unit member in the process. It suspects him of being a “habitual robber” and later joining the NDA rebels. 84
He was taken to Operation Wembley headquarters at Clement Hills Road in Kampalaand beaten when he complained about the taking of his property. They beat him repeatedly with batons and used a bayonet to stab him and to puncture his leg. He still has scars on his wrist, right thighs, and legs. They poured water, lots of water, into his open mouth.
They did not ask him to sign or make a statement. He was kept at Clement Hills for fourteen days then was sent to Mbuya barracks for another two weeks. He was charged in September in a court martial with terrorism and belonging to a rebel group. The military judge, a lieutenant general, dismissed the case against him for lack of evidence and said that the case should be transferred to civil court, if they had any case.
Lubega was transferred to Kigo Prison and on February 13, 2003, was charged with treason in the Magistrates’ Court and sent to Luzira Prison again. “Operation Wembley has the power to do anything,” he said.85
George Kasozi, age seventy, once a local chief in the Kabaka government (the historically important traditional rulers of the Buganda region), was not active in politics until the 2001 presidential campaign started. He trusted Museveni’s representations about freedom and democracy, he said, so he concluded it would be safe to work for the opposition presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye. He thought that they could win and change the government without armed conflict.86
He was arrested on September 16, 2002, by four men in a double cabin truck who stopped him at gunpoint and used his shirt to blindfold him and cover his head. They put a rope around his neck, searched his body, and took the Ug. Sh. 300,000 (U.S. $ 151) he carried. When he was blindfolded he became frightened and lost consciousness due to high blood pressure. He was taken to the hospital “near the Ugandan Museum in Kampala” for one week, until he regained consciousness.87 The government, which denies that he was beaten, states that he had high blood pressure and was treated at Kitante Medical Center.88
He then was sent to a safe house in an unfamiliar location; he was held there for about five months. For the first two months, he was confined to a room by himself. After that, another man whom he did not know was brought in to share that room for three months. The prisoners were blindfolded whenever they went out of the room, for instance, to go to the toilet.
The ministers of the Kabaka government had come out openly in support of Kizza Besigye for president. As a local chief in the Kabaka government, he knew these ministers; he was interrogated about them and their political activities. He was also interrogated about Besigye and his alleged association with rebel groups.
Kasozi was beaten and tortured by severe blows on his head and body by blunt instruments, kicking, and pouring water over him, but in December 2002 that torture increased. The torture then included tying his arms tightly behind him and making him lie on the floor and pouring jerrycans of water over him. He would be left in that position in the puddle of water for one or two days. He was hit and pierced in the right buttock with a six-inch nail on a board.89 Months later, he still could not hear properly because he had received so many slaps on his head with a board.90
After making a statement at CID headquarters and being charged with treason in the Magistrates’ Court on Buganda Road in Kampala, he was taken to Kigo Prison on February 15, 2003. 91
He has no money for a lawyer and is responsible for the support of many children, including the orphans of his late brother.92 The government reports that he was granted bail.93
On or about September 1, 2003, four of fourteen men who had been arrested by the authorities in Kampala and elsewhere in August 2003 were removed from JATF detention facilities (an unacknowledged or ungazetted safe house) by a CMI officer and his subordinates. The four men were allegedly executed at a place in Katikamu subcounty, Luwero district. The names of three of those believed killed are Ismael Muviru, Mutwabil Walakira, and Capt. Sewamuwa Daudi; the name of the fourth man allegedly executed is unknown.
Human Rights Watch requested the Ugandan government to conduct a full, independent judicial enquiry into the fourteen cases named, and make the results of this investigation public.94 It has not done so. Apparently, on receipt of this letter faxed from Human Rights Watch to the State House in Kampala on October 2, 2003, the Ugandan authorities arranged for charges to be brought the next day against most of the men named in the letter. Seven of the fourteen mentioned in the HRW letter were charged with terrorism in a court martial the following afternoon—though all but one were civilians.95 The authorities denied that anyone had been executed, and asked Human Rights Watch to produce the bodies.96
Those not charged in the general court martial were Musafiri Macheko, Sirje Loutwama, Muzeeyi Muwanga, and the four allegedly summarily executed, Mutwabil Walakira, Capt. Sewamuwa Daudi, and Ismael Muviru, and one unidentified man.
In a letter of March 13, 2004, the Ugandan government stated that Musafiri Macheko was a Kenyan arrested with Bukenya and was freed after it had been established that he was a money changer at the Uganda-Kenya border. If this is accurate, then there are six men remaining unaccounted for.
The Ugandan government states “it is doubtful that the six above ever existed at all.” It also claimed that “security agencies never carried out operations in the said places during the times in question.”97
The VCCU and ISO admitted that they arrested some of the people named by Human Rights Watch. They told the press that they had arrested various suspects in the two weeks before the letter.98 The chief of ISO, Col. Elly Kayanja, alleged that the suspects belonged to Maj. Herbert Itongwa’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Col. Noble Mayombo said that CMI had not picked up a single person in the three months prior to October 3, 2003. He also said that the JATF only acted on the basis of information that CMI received.99 Charges of terrorism are pending against the remaining detainees and all remain in custody in Kigo Prison, with the exception of one former UPDF member, Lt. Bukenya Gonzaga, who is detained in Makindye barracks.
According to those close to the suspects, at least two were residents of Kenya at the time of the acts alleged, seeking refuge in that country. Lt. Bukenya Gonzaga, according to relatives, fled to Kenya in 1999 and did not return to Uganda. If this is accurate, then the allegations that he participated in an attack inside Uganda in 2002 are not accurate. In addition he completed the first steps for recognition of his refugee status by the Ugandan government and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Lt. Bukenya Gonzaga’s relatives believe that he was kidnapped from Kenya and forcibly returned to Uganda. This is not permitted under refugee law. Pursuant to that law, he has a right to a hearing to determine his refugee status prior to deportation back to his country of origin. He had no hearing.100 Kenyan authorities do not have the right to return him to Uganda without such a hearing, even if he is wanted in Uganda in connection with a crime. Of course Ugandan authorities do not have the right to kidnap or detain anyone inside Kenya, much less remove a person from Kenya to Uganda against his will.
The Ugandan government claims that Lt. Bukenya Gonzaga was detained inside Uganda. It alleges that he jumped bail while awaiting trial for NDA activities, and fled to Kenya, where he and another defendant in the October 2003 case, Medi Kasujja, reorganized the NDA. It states that Lt. Bukenya Gonzaga had returned to Uganda in order to engage in NDA rebel activities when he was detained in August 2003 at the Tripoli Hotel in the border town of Busia, Uganda.101
Some twenty-two remand prisoners—detained in September 2002 and accused of treason, murder, and collaborating with the LRA—were being held in Gulu Prison in northern Uganda. In a commando raid on the prison, members of the UPDF Fourth Division forcibly removed these prisoners from Gulu Prison on October 16, and took them to the Fourth Division headquarters barracks in Gulu—despite the protests of the prison wardens. The UPDF maintains it removed them from the prison in order to protect them from a threatened rescue attempt by the LRA.
In the process, the UPDF shot one prisoner, Peter Oloya, dead at point-blank range, without warning. Although the Ugandan government denies that he was shot deliberately, the High Court (below) ordered the UPDF to pay damages to Oloya’s family for the prisoner’s loss of life. 102
The prisoners alleged they weretortured in the Gulu Fourth Division army barracks detention center, where they were placed in the quarter guard. They allege they were subjected to ill treatment and torture there, held in this room for two weeks with no light and insufficient food, and the one female prisoner was gang-raped.103
The Ugandan government says that the “twenty-two prisoners were housed in a large and well-ventilated room at the quarter-guard, which can hold up to 100 detainees. They were mixed with UPDF detainees and used the same facilities and ate the same meals with UPDF soldier detainees which were regular and adequate with in Uganda standards. There was no ill treatment as alleged . . . .”104 Nevertheless, the High Court (below) later awarded damages to these prisoners for government violation of the right to be free of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
After national and international attention was brought to the case, in November 2002 they were transferred to Kigo Prison, where they were visited by the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, the diplomatic corps resident in Kampala, and others. In September 2003, after one year of detention, those who signed an amnesty request were released, and those who did not request amnesty continued to be detained.
Among those who did not request amnesty were those who had won a case in civil court against the Ugandan government for damages. (below) After the deputy prosecutor said that there was not sufficient evidence to hold them on treason charges, the state attorney accepted their release.
The state attorney from Gulu was then detained for a week by UPDF Lt. Col. Charles Otema, who released him under pressure. Subsequently, Lt. Col. Otema told the relatives of three who did not sign the amnesty that they would stay in jail “as long as Museveni was in power” unless they signed the amnesty. The Ugandan government denies these events occurred. Three of this group, named Pido, Tony Kitala, and Alex Otim, then signed an amnesty request and were released.
Three others, two men and the woman relative of Joseph Kony who was gang-raped, did not request amnesty. They were transferred to Luzira Prison and they remain there, awaiting trial on charges of treason, as of the writing of this report.
There were several attempts to bring relief in this case through legal action. Two persons, one a member of parliament, sought an order from the High Court at Gulu for damages for loss of life and other harm sustained by the Gulu prisoners when they were removed from the prison to the barracks in October 2002. The court, in a twenty-two page ruling in February 2003, held that the soldiers of the UPDF Fourth Division in Gulu violated the right to life of the prisoner by killing him, and also violated the cultural right of his relatives to accord him a decent burial. It awarded compensation of 50 million Ug. Sh. (U.S. $ 25,165) to the relatives of the deceased or to his legal representative. For violation of the right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the court ordered 15 million Ugandan Shillings (U.S. $ 7,550) damages for each of the surviving prisoners.105
The High Court at Gulu ruled in a separate case on the habeas corpus petition of one Gulu Prisoner, ordering that he should be produced in court. A UPDF captain testified that the suspect was arrested with two grenades, without a license, in a joint army/police operation. The court ruled that his right to be charged within forty-eight hours of arrest had been violated106 (see further below).
There are several additional cases for damages pending in Gulu High Court against persons in the UPDF who have reportedly abused the rights of civilians in and around Gulu in the Acholi area of northern Uganda where the LRA has been waging war since 1986. One involves two young women raped by two UPDF soldiers. After the rapes, both young women were diagnosed as positive for the HIV/AIDS virus. Another pending case is that of an older man, who was tortured with hot melted plastic dripped on his back. Five boys, allegedly tortured during three days in the main barracks in Gulu but not charged with any crime, have also sued for damages, as have two men detained for a week in November 2002 by the UPDF and held in various underground cells in various barracks. A student detained by the UPDF and threatened with torture and death, and forbidden to leave Gulu or attend any meetings, is also suing.107 The Ugandan authorities put in an answer denying the charges in two cases, but are apparently not putting in an appearance in the other civil court cases, leaving the court to enter a default judgment against the government if the court rules in favor of the victims. 108
Derrick was arrested while riding in public transport in May 2001, held in prolonged arbitrary detention by CMI until he was hospitalized for two weeks in July 2001, then released in August without any charges against him. He was castrated as a result of untreated injuries inflicted during torture.
The vehicle in which he was riding in Kampala was hijacked by five or six armed men in civilian clothes in May 2001 at about 6:30 pm. The hijackers drove it and the six passengers around for a few hours. Then they stopped, pulled two passengers from the vehicle, and shot them dead. They dragged their bodies to an open area nearby. 109
The shooters asked Derrick if he knew the dead men. When he said no, they accused him of lying and started beating him. One of the shooters threatened him by putting the nozzle of his gun into Derrick’s mouth.
They took him and the other passengers to the CMI headquarters, and were admitted when the guards to the headquarters recognized an officer in their car, and saluted him.110 Once inside the compound, the hijackers/CMI agents asked again if he knew the ones who were killed. They beat him with an electrical wire, and with the metal head of a hammer (on the left collarbone, which still hurts). They cut him with a knife, leaving a horizontal scar on his back four inches above the waist. Then they removed his trousers and used hospital syringes with needles to prick his testicles, hard. With an electrical wire, they shocked and burned his right shoulder and back. He lost consciousness. They dragged him to the doorsteps of a building in the compound and left him underneath. He woke up the next morning and officers arriving for work saw him, started kicking him and asking who beat him up, then left him there. He stayed under the steps for two or three days, without anything to eat or drink but too weak to move. He attracted the attention of a passing soldier, showing him his injuries (swollen and bruised genitalia).
That evening he was carried to a sedan and put in the trunk. The car went to Mbuya barracks, where he was put in a long building divided with many doors, many rooms. He was kept in one room for three months but received no medical treatment.
He did not have any way to wash and several wounds were rotting, maggot-infested, and smelly. The prisoners in other rooms complained to a guard that someone was dead, they could tell by the smell. His door was opened and the other inmates discovered him and carried him to the corridor. 111
Derrick was taken to the military hospital and finally given medical attention, operated on, and discharged two weeks later, with a diagnosis of “strangulated hernia,” according to the medical certificate.112
He was taken back to the safe house at the barracks for some weeks, then CMI sent him to a police station for three days. The police did not seem to know what to do with him. When the police sent him to CID, that agency ordered him sent him back to the police station.
There in early October 2001 he was charged with “terrorism,” allowed to post bond for his release, and told to report back a month later. When he returned the CID agent informed him, “the government of Uganda likes you so much that it decided you should go free.” He was told to treat himself medically for one month and not to say anything. If he spent one month without talking, he would be totally released without charges.113
After two days at home, he went to the UHRC to complain about his disability, and they referred him for medical treatment.114
The UHRC wrote to Col. Noble Mayombo, head of CMI, and his reply came in a letter one year later, in December 2002, stating that the man in question was detained in May 2001 for robbery, by the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force (not usually responsible for investigating ordinary crime), He denied the torture allegations.115 The UHRC was not moving quickly on the case, filed in October 2001, according to the victim’s attorney, who asserted that CMI was “witch hunting our client” in the process of ostensibly proposing to settle the matter out of court.116
The victim is not working. He is in hiding.
Nicholas (Ruzinda) Luzinda, a nursing assistant working in public health and the father of ten, was arrested on September 3, 2002, at work by men in plainclothes, with pistols. They searched and confiscated about 500,000 Ug. Sh. (U.S. $ 251) worth of motorcycle spare parts entrusted to him by his employer and took him to UPDF headquarters at Mpigi, southwest of Kampala. Most of the time until he was charged with terrorism in September 15, 2002, he was in CMI safe houses, where he was beaten and threatened with death.
The Ugandan government denies any torture; it alleges that after an attack on the Kiwawu Police Post on Kampala-Mityana Highway nearby, Luzinda gave sanctuary to fleeing NDA rebels at his farm.117
From Mgipi he was transferred to Operation Wembley headquarters in Kampala where he was put in a cell that was only two feet high, so that he had to lie down; it was very tight as there were others inside the cell also.
The next day he and another man were called from the cell and threatened with death: “You are going to be hammered in a hole today. You better pray for yourself, your life is coming to an end.” The two men were put in a vehicle, tied together, blindfolded, and taken to CMI headquarters, where he was put in a small room with blood on the floor, small bloody ropes, and a few plastic bags (which he believed were used for suffocation).
He was to be moved again on the same day. It was raining and the car slipped turning around inside the compound of CMI headquarters. His guards untied him so he could help push the car. He tried to run away, but they caught and beat him with imported canes (plastic whips from South Africa, they told him). He was severely beaten on the right buttocks, leaving a deep scar.
They took him to a safe house in the Kololo neighborhood of Kampala that same day,118 but he did not receive any medical treatment there. He was put inside a room where there were already six men, all unknown to him. He spent some two weeks there; on September 15 he was taken for the day to Makindye barracks, where a sergeant caught a glimpse of his wounds and expressed surprise.
He was taken to a military court on the following day, September 16, 2002, where he was charged with terrorism. After several months, on February 14, 2003, his case was sent to civilian court with new charges (treason) and new co-defendants. He was remanded to Kigo Prison, where he received medical care for the first time since his arrest; he did not receive any care, “not even a bath,” for the five months before that. He has filed a petition for amnesty.119
“Operation Wembley” was a special security unit started in July 2002 as a government response to public outcry at the high crime rate in Kampala, which included a spate of killings in the business community. Some of the perpetrators of the crimes were believed to be disgruntled demobilized soldiers. Operation Wembley, according to the UHRC, was conducted by “unofficial security forces.”120 They included CMI, ISO, “volunteers,” informers and UPDF soldiers. Although many of the cases of Operation Wembley torture reported to Human Rights Watch appeared to be an abusive response to ordinary crime, several of those detained by Operation Wembley were then charged with political offenses, including treason and terrorism.
Operation Wembley arrested 432 persons in approximately two months between June 25, 2002 and August 31, 2002, 121 and detained them in unofficial places, often severely torturing them. Nine were reportedly died under torture during Operation Wembley, according to the UHRC.122 Others estimate that the total killed by the authorities was much higher. One researcher talked to Kigo Prison inmates and compiled a list of eighty-one men and two women who were removed from Operation Wembley detention and were believed to have been killed. The list was drawn from eyewitnesses to their removal from detention. Many others were never heard from again, i.e., “disappeared.” Not all the persons believed to have been executed were known by name to the eyewitnesses.123
A 2002 report by criminal defense attorney Peter Mukidi Walubiri, entitled “A Human Rights Audit of Operation Wembley,” outlined the abusive practices of Operation Wembley, which were considerable. They included a “shoot to kill” policy, arrests by ISO officers, operatives and volunteers, none of whom had legal authority to arrest unless exceptional circumstances were present; detention in unauthorized places; detention for more than a month without being charged in court, in violation of the forty-eight hour rule; denial of access to next of kin, lawyer, or medical doctor; denial of bail; denial of right to habeas corpus; torture; and trial of civilians by court martial. Operation Wembley was called off by the government and so reported in the press on August 23, 2002; arrests by ISO officers, operatives and volunteers, none of whom had legal authority to arrest unless two narrow conditions were met; detention in unauthorized places; detention for more than a month without being charged in court, in violation of the forty-eight hour rule; denial of access to next of kin, lawyer, or medical doctor; denial of bail; denial of right to habeas corpus; torture; and trial of civilians by court martial.124
Responding to such criticism, the Ugandan government decided that courts martial would try the detained, although many detainees were civilians.125 According to ministry of defense and private attorneys, a 1989 law permitted civilians found in association with the military in the commission of crimes to be tried in courts martial. These trials have dragged on, with few, if any, convictions. In the meanwhile, those charged stay in detention.
The government also created a Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU) to take over from Operation Wembley. Where Operation Wembley was staffed by CMI, police, ISO, and others, VCCU is staffed only by the police, according to official statements. Those who were responsible for Operation Wembley, and those who participated in it, however, have not been held accountable for their abuses.
Christopher Egesa Ochieng, age thirty-two, was the sole support of his wife, son, mother, and his six brothers. He was arrested near Jinja on July 17, 2002, by two soldiers in uniform in July 2002 when returning from the burial of a man who reportedly died in prison. The soldiers took him to a safe house in Kampala that he believes was on Clement Hill Road—the then headquarters of Operation Wembley—where he was tortured with many beatings, wires on his genitals, and water torture for two months. The torturers wanted him to say that he had seen people who were committing robberies.
He knew his torturers only as “Operation Wembley.” They sometimes wore UPDF uniforms, sometimes not. Torture started with pouring a bucket of water over him, after which he was made to lie down, face up. They poured water all over him.126 They covered his head with a black plastic bag and jumped so hard on his stomach that he lost his breath; it took what seemed to be thirty minutes to start breathing relatively normally again. When he revived somewhat, they stood him up, kicked him, tied him up, and put him inside a vehicle, where his shirt was tied over his head again. Then they took him to another safe house where they spent the rest of the night hitting him in the head with a rod similar to those used as window guards.
On the second night—all the torture occurred at night—three men, his interrogators, brought a cable wire and took him into a bathroom, where they stood him in the sink for bathing, and put a wire around his penis. They tightened the wire and he fainted. They beat his mouth and nose and he bled. They tied him by both hands to one side of the window and hit him with the cable wire and wooden rods.127
During other nights, he was hit with ropes on his legs, his penis was tied again with the cable, and a piece of plywood with three nails protruding was “hammered” into his chest. They took him to Makindye UPDF barracks in Kampala after some two months of this torture. The government denies all allegations of torture.128
He did not receive any medical treatment except for penicillin and aspirin and was not seen by any medical worker while in Operation Wembley. He still had scars on his back at the time of his interview, almost a year later. He was warned that they might kill him if he talked about the way he had been treated. 129 Reportedly his penis is permanently deformed.130
He finally signed what they wanted, was taken to court on September 17, 2002, and was charged with aggravated robbery and terrorism. He had nine codefendants (two of them soldiers) whom he did not know. As he was charged with a capital crime in a court martial (terrorism), a UPDF defense attorney was appointed for him.131As of the time of the interview, the accused was still in prison.
Joseph Kizza Kibaate was arrested in Masindi in January 23, 2003, by four men (of whom only two were in uniform) who worked for Operation Wembley. After four days in Masindi police station he was moved to Kampala where, in a safe house in Clement Hills (the Operation Wembley headquarters), the captors questioned him about who committed a murder in 1997 (for which he had been arrested). They also wanted to know how he got out of jail in 1998; he was released after investigation.
Apparently a secretary to one of the top officers in Operation Wembley was a relative of the 1997 murder victim. The secretary participated in Kibaate’s beatings and torture, caning him very hard, saying that he had killed her relative. She gave an order to take him to “Liverpool,” which, it turned out, was behind the safe house, within the fence. It was a water tap. He was taken there and told to lie on his back under the tap and open his mouth. They turned on the tap and let the water pour into his mouth, beating him at the same time and asking things he could not answer. He vomited water when they beat him on the stomach with sticks. They then beat him for four days, until “they had nowhere to beat me.” He was urinating blood and his ears were leaking water. His hearing is still impaired.
A lawyer brought a habeas corpus on April 23, 2003, and he was released on a 500,000 Ug. Sh. (U.S. $ 251) bond.132 “This regime is using unprofessional people in sensitive jobs,” was his understated comment. The government denies the allegations of torture and states out that his case—in which he is accused of involvement in two murders—is still under investigation although he is out on bond.133
Ibrahim Lwere, age forty-nine, was elected to local positions in the outskirts of Kampala starting in 1988. In 2001, he was elected an LC-3, a middle-ranking position he still holds. In 1996 and 2001 he campaigned in support of opposition candidates for president.
“Let me show you what is going on in Africa,” Ibrahim Lwere said to Human Rights Watch, taking off his shirt to show scars all over his back that took four months to heal, and his left wrist, which he said was cut with a saw by his torturers. This torture took place in Operation Wembley headquarters for two days in early August 2002. He had no medical treatment and had to sleep on cement floors, both there and during months in custody in Makindye barracks, Kampala, following his torture. Charges of treason were dropped and he was released with a warning in October 2003.134
His problems arose years before from land disputes in his village in which another resident, believed to be a security officer, has been a protagonist. This man, Simon (not his real name) was attached to Operation Wembley. He also used letterhead from the president’s office.135 Simon engaged in bringing different criminal charges against his neighbors; Ibrahim Lwere and other community leaders warned Simon not to use the police to arrest, beat, or torture his opponents in land disputes any more. Nonetheless, litigation, forging of land titles, illegal closings of roads, unlawful arrests and detention, property destruction, criminal charges, and other activities ensued.136
Local leaders, including Ibrahim, went to the headquarters of the Inspector General of Police to complain about Simon in February 2002.137 A warning from this official to a regional official in March 2002 cautioning about Simon did not produce any results.
On August 5, 2002, Simon arrested Ibrahim at his home in the evening, blindfolding him, putting him in a vehicle, and taking him to Operation Wembley on Clement Hill, where Ibrahim was tortured: beaten on his buttocks with a stick which had a nail in it, beaten on his back with a blunt instrument, wrists tied tightly with rope, and other forms of brutality. He was beaten hard for two days.138
After Ibrahim was arrested, Simon proceeded to arrest his neighbor, Ronald Kizza, with whom he was also engaged in the land dispute. Simon took Ronald Kizza away and brought him back during the night to the village. People heard shots and when they saw Ronald’s body, they suspected Simon but the police did not arrest anyone.139
Meanwhile, Ibrahim was put in the safe house in the same room as eleven others. They were also tortured, beaten, and bleeding. 140 On August 9, 2002, all were handcuffed, blindfolded, and taken to Makindye barracks, where they stayed until October 16, 2002. They were told, “Give me the guns,” but denied weapons possession and all other allegations. At Makindye they had no toilets, no blankets, no visitors, no communications, and were overcrowded.
On October 16, 2002, Ibrahim was taken for a court martial inside Makindye barracks, and charged with desertion from the army in 1987 and treason. He replied that he was in the NRA as a volunteer (1985-87) and decided to leave when it was reorganized because he did not intend to be a professional military man.141 The lawyer advised him to admit the desertion, so he did. The charge of treason was withdrawn and the court punished him with a warning, nothing more.142 Simon remains in the victim’s town, in the security forces. 143
On May 20, 2003, Ibrahim went to the UHRC to complain about this miscarriage of justice and presented a complaint in writing to the Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Internal Affairs. At the time of writing this report, there has been no response.
The Ugandan government says that it had no knowledge of the land dispute and that it was not a reason for the arrest. It also reports that it subsequently dropped charges of terrorism “due to insufficient investigative capacity of the police to satisfy the ingredients of the offence with the time required.”144
Due to the involvement of the UPDF in the armed conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (1998-2003), on Uganda’s western border, 145 Congolese have appeared in Ugandan detention as mentioned in the case of Isaac Kambesa above. Ugandans captured in DRC allegedly involved in armed opposition to the UPDF have been transferred to Ugandan soil as well. There is no way to know how many are held in Uganda in connection with activities in DRC. They are held by the military unless and until it chooses to turn them over to the courts for trial.
Twenty-two Ugandan citizens (including two medical doctors) were detained on March 8, 2003 in Ituri, DRC. They were alleged to be supporters of Kizza Besigye’s supposed rebel group, the PRA.146
The circumstances of their capture are murky, but there is no dispute that they were Ugandans captured inside DRC who ended up in UPDF custody inside Uganda.147 The Ugandan government says that they were captured by the Lendu militia which handed them over to the UPDF inside Uganda, at Arua near the DRC border.148The twenty-two Ugandans were not the only Ugandans captured that day who ended up in the hands of the UPDF. There were in addition six Ugandan civilians including an attorney. All twenty-eight of the Ugandans were removed from DRC to Uganda.
Later the Ugandan government claimed that the Ugandans had been captured on March 8, 2003, and subjected by their captors, the Lendu militia, to “harsh conditions, bullet wounds, beatings and lack of food etc.” They needed “urgent medical treatment” and this condition justified the Ugandan government’s failure to bring them to court before April 16.149
Their bad condition did not stop the UPDF from parading the twenty-two captives before the press in Arua, Uganda, on March 20, however. The UPDF disclosed their names and claimed that they were members of the Ugandan rebel group PRA.150
On April 11, 2003, the families of those twenty-two whose names had been disclosed in the press sought an order of habeas corpus from the High Court, which ordered the UPDF to produce the twenty-two in the High Court on April 17.
This habeas corpus petition did its work. On April 16, 2003, the day before they were to be produced in High Court, twenty-five of the twenty-eight (twenty-two captured plus the six others151) were charged with treason in a court martial. The allegation was that on March 8, 2003 they plotted and assembled at Aboro Hills, Ituri, DRC, to overthrow the Ugandan government by force of arms, and on March 10 in the same place levied war against the Republic of Uganda (“to wit took up arms to fight” the Ugandan government and were “captured in a gun battle”).152 Three of the original twenty-two were not charged with a crime nor produced in the High Court. They had decided to cooperate with the prosecution.
In the High Court on April 17, the date on which the habeas corpus was due, the attorney for the UPDF produced the day-old charge sheet to account for the nineteen, and reported that the three not charged were not in detention, and had been “freed.” The families of the accused then sought other relief and compensation. They calculated that before the men were charged, they were in illegal custody for twenty-two days (March 20-April 16).
The army refused the families, doctors, and attorneys access to the twenty-five defendants in Makindye barracks on two occasions, using as an excuse the second time that a letter from CMI director Col. Noble Mayombo was required for anyone to visit prisoners in Makindye. After more protests, Col. Mayombo notified the attorneys that the general court martial would issue an order for remand of the accused civilians to civil prison when it reconvened on May 6, 2003. The request for a letter of permission to visit them in Makindye barracks detention was not granted.153
According to the government, the civilians in the group were awarded damages by the court for their wrongful and long confinement in UPDF custody—or “by the army court,” as the CMI stated.154 The criminal charges are pending.
27 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 7. Uganda ratified the ICCPR in 1995.
28 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Article 1. Uganda ratified the CAT in 1986.
29 Uganda made a declaration in 2001 under article 21 of the CAT that it would allow the Committee against Torture to consider complaints made against it by another state party to the treaty, but this procedure is very rarely used and to our knowledge has not been invoked with regard to Uganda.
30 Uganda Constitution, article 24: “No person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
31 See below, and Human Rights Watch, Protectors or Pretenders?: Government Human Rights Commissions in Africa (Human Rights Watch: New York, January 2001), chapter on Uganda, at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/africa/uganda/uganda.html .
32 UHRC, Annual Report, pp. xiii and 102-03. The UHRC said it received more complaints of torture from January 2001 to September 2002 than in previous years: 158 cases of torture in 1999, 97 cases in 2000, 152 in 2001. Adding the complaints received at the two or three regional offices, the torture cases in 2001 totaled 210 and in January to June 2002 totaled 91. UHRC, Annual Report, p. 4.
33 FHRI, “Human Rights Reporter,” p. 10. From 1986 to 2000, there were “recorded improvements in the observance of human rights by the state in Uganda.” The developments since 2001 represent a reversal of the positive trend.
34 Stephen Gidudu vs. Attorney General, UHRC, Kampala, February 26, 2003. It is likely that the torturers intend to seriously damage the genitals, as they are located in a protected part of the body and would not be struck accidentally.
35 The interrogators accused one detainee of “talking to” Col. Samson Mande, Lt. Col. Anthony Kyakabare, and presidential candidate Col. (Ret.) Kizza Besigye, and of being involved with and financing the PRA. He had served in the Ugandan embassy with Mande many years earlier. Human Rights Watch interview, Luzira Prison, Uganda, June 19, 2003. It appears that his fellow detainee’s acquaintance with Kizza Besigye, a high school classmate, was one factor that led authorities to suspect him of involvement in armed rebellion. His late wife was coincidentally a classmate of Kizza’s wife. Human Rights Watch interview, Luzira Prison, Uganda, June 19, 2003.
36 Not his real name.
37 James, Human Rights Watch interview, Kampala, June 17, 2003. During that campaign, in January 2001, he was picked up with two colleagues, and they were taken to the barracks for two days and slapped around; their posters and pile of campaign t-shirts were burned. Unless otherwise stated, all other information comes from this interview.
38 A uniport is an aluminum shelter used by construction companies on a temporary basis, poorly ventilated. The UPDF and security agencies now use uniports as detention facilities.
39 The quarter guard is a military term. It is a small guard posted in front of each battalion in camp, or a guard or detachment entrusted with the guard of a post.
40 Adele and Ezekiel, Human Rights Watch interview, Kampala, June 18, 2003. These are not their real names.
41 The police recorded in their log that the two were removed by CMI from the first police station. They insisted that the couple should have a police escort to the next stop, and they prevailed and set off with DISO agents working with CMI. On the way, these DISO agents, in plainclothes, wanted to take Adele and Ezekiel to the barracks but the police refused, made noise, and people gathered around, so the DISO agents relented and the suspects were taken to another police station. At the second police station, CMI told the police, “These are ours, keep them for us,” and went away for three days. The police asked the couple what had happened; they told their story. The police took them to the hospital where they were treated and returned to the station. CMI then picked them up and took them to Mbarara.
When they arrived at the DISO office in Mbarara, they were stopped by their relatives who were searching for the pair. The relatives made a lot of noise, a crowd gathered, and they insisted that the two should not be taken to the barracks from the DISO offices. CMI gave the appearance of compromising: it left the two at the police in Mbarara for two weeks, but they arrived daily to pick up the couple from the police station and take them to CMI offices for interrogation.
At the police station in Mbarara, the police kept asking CMI, “What charges do you have against them, so we can prepare the court case?” The police kept arguing that they could not keep them in the police station for such a long time without charges. The police from this second station seemed to be too afraid of the military to take Adele, who complained of pain from being beaten at the time of arrest, to the hospital. They instead brought a police doctor to the police station to look at her.
42 Adele and Ezekiel, Human Rights Watch interview, June 18, 2003.
43 The couple has receipts from their treatment and laboratory tests.
44 Human Rights Watch interview, Charles Ekemu, Kigo Prison, Uganda, June 17, 2003.
45 The original charge was filed on January 16, 2003, without reference to him. He was included in the amended charge, dated January 20, 2003, suggesting that this was a convenient allegation to which his name could be attached. The government claims that he was in charge of PRA recruitment for the Teso region. Letter, Colonel Noble Mayombo, Chieftancy of Military Intelligence (CMI), to Jemera Rone, Human Rights Watch, March 13, 2004.
46 FHRI also noted that many Operation Wembley detainees had been beaten with such batons. FHRI, “Human Rights Reporter,” p. 52.
47 Human Rights Watch interview, anonymous researcher, Kampala, June 2003.
48 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004. The government denies that Kafureeka was rearrested upon his release. It recites what it says are testimonies provided against him. Ibid. Human Rights Watch is not in a position to evaluate the summaries of testimonies. Regardless of the allegations, torture is never permissible.
49 The same group had broken into his house exactly one year before, according to Mugarura. At first it seemed like they were thieves; they cut the fence, broke the glasss, and burgled the house, carrying away everything down to the tea and slippers. They hacked him with a panga across his head and left him for dead. They beat his wife and six children, the maid, and the chamberboy. At the time he had just retired from the army as an officer. Human Rights Watch interview, Dan Mugarura, Luzira Prison, Uganda, June 19, 2003. The Ugandan government maintains that the team that arrested Mugarura identified themselves to him. Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
50 They kicked him and left him with no food or water; that night he was shifted to another wet room, which had no bedding or mattress. During the night he was pinched and bitten. In the morning he saw red ants. They undressed him fully and tied him up again, and asked him, “Now tell us why you are here?” Human Rights Watch interview, Dan Mugarura, June 19, 2003.
52 The Ugandan government denies that any torture occurred and it denies using snakes to frighten Mugarura, as snakes do not exist in its facilities. Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004. It invites Mugarura to escort HRW to the facility where the torture took place. However, Mugarura says he did not know where he was held as his interrogators blindfolded him and took other precautions to keep this information from him.
53 Human Rights Watch interview, Dan Mugarura, June 19, 2003.
54 Another case of death in custody is that of John Birungi, who was arrested on February 15, 2003, from Kisugu Makindye, on robbery charges. He “developed a high blood pressure attack” and was transported to the hospital, where he died on arrival. Memo, from Col. Elly Kayanja, Deputy Director General ISO/OWECO, to family members of late Birungi John, February 18, 2003. The Ugandan government denies he was killed in custody. Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
55 Human Rights Watch interview, Kampala, June 18, 2003.
56 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
57 Email, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 15, 2004.
58 Human Rights Watch interview, Kampala, June 18, 2003.
59 The Resident District Commissioner is the highest-ranking district official. Uganda is divided into districts rather than states or provinces. The RDC is appointed by the president. Uganda Constitution, article 203.
60 FHRI, “Human Rights Reporter,” p. 19. FHRI reported that CMI had drafted a statement concerning the whereabouts of Col. Mande for Patrick to sign, and he refused. Ibid., p. 18.
61 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
62 See FHRI, “Human Rights Reporter,” p. 19.
63 Human Rights Watch interview, Kampala, June 18, 2003. The Ugandan government maintains that there was “overwhelming intelligence information of their treasonous activities,” and that “they were actively involved in transporting recruits of the rebel People Redemption Army (PRA) based in a neighboring country”—Kabale is near the Rwandan border—and “linking them to LRA terrorists in Northern Uganda.” Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
64 The Ugandan government says that the charges against him are serious: “He was arrested on 14 July 01, in Kampala for ADF urban terrorism activities, to wit, bomb making of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). He was arrested with 26 (twenty six) others after detonating 11 (eleven) explosive devices in Kampala and Jinja, between 28 Jan 2001 and 6 July 2001.” Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004. They give his alias as “Brian Mugumbe.”
The government offered HRW the opportunity to see a videotape of his interrogation. Human Rights Watch is not in a position, even with a videotape, to assess the guilt or innocence of the accused. Regardless of any guilt, however, he remains protected by the presumption of innocence and the right to be free of torture.
65 Rasheed Kawawa, Human Rights Watch interview, Luzira Prison, Uganda, July 19, 2003.
66 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
67 Human Rights Watch interview, Isaac Kambesa, Kigo Prison, Uganda, June 17, 2003.
68 DPP, Kampala, June 19, 2003.
69 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
70 Email, anonymous researcher to Rone.
71 Human Rights Watch/FHRI interview, Kasese, April 2002. Martin is not his real name.
72 Human Rights Watch/FHRI interview, Mary, Kasese, April 2002. Mary is not her real name.
73 Human Rights Watch/FHRI interview, Hassan, Kasese, April 2002. Hassan is not his real name.
74 According to many, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has been defunct since 1995. Its leader is in exile in Europe. The Ugandan government says that the NDA was active in 2001-02 attacks on police posts in Kiwawu, Kiwoko, and Semuto. It believes they were launched from the home of Dr. Mukama. It claims that Dr. Mukama was head of the political wing of the NDA at that time. Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004. Whatever the allegations, they do not justify torture.
75 He was not listed in the original charge filed in the Magistrates’ Court on Buganda Road, Kampala, February 3, 2003, but was listed in the amended charge of February 25, 2003.
76 In addition to the attacks on police posts above, the government also accuses the NDA of the murder of south-western Regional Police Commander Erisa Karakire, and burning a minibus in Kasangati, according to Col. Kayanja. (The death of Cmdr. Eria Karakire, according to many, however, occurred in 1995.) R. Mutumba, G. Kamali, and F. Kiwanuka, “CMI Denies Execution of Suspects,” New Vision, Kampala, October 3, 2003.
77 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
78 Human Rights Watch interview, Dr. Steven Wilson Mukama, Kigo Prison, Uganda, June 17, 2003.
79 The charge of terrorism was made against him, four other men, and one woman, in the general court martial on September 16, 2002. They were charged with three counts: terrorism; possession of a firearm; and possession of “Government Stores to wit one plain green military cap and a pair of a Captains pips the property of” the UPDF, in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Firearms Act of 1970, and the Penal Code Act, respectively. No rebel group was mentioned.
80 His case was transferred to a civilian court after a politician intervened, and he was transferred on September 18 to Kigo Prison.
81 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
82 He and Charles were both lovers of the same woman in 1994, and Charles repeatedly detained him between 1994 and 2002. He spent most of that time in prison but he was never convicted of anything. According to him, his romantic rival caused him to be detained in the quarter guard room of the headquarters of the First Division of the UPDF in Lubiri without charges (1994-February 1996) and again to await trial (mostly in Luzira Prison) from October 22, 1996-July 1999, when robbery charges against him were dismissed. Before he could enjoy his freedom, he was rearrested outside the court, in front of his mother and wife He was kept incommunicado in Mbuya barracks for eight months, charged with terrorism (December 1999), committed to the High Court eleven months later (November 2000), and sent to Luzira Prison again but released on March 27, 2002, when the prosecution failed to appear; he had an attorney at that time. Lubega Ibrahim Bullu, Human Rights Watch interview, Luzira Prison, Uganda, July 19, 2003. The government denies knowledge of any love triangle.
83 The Ugandan government denies that anything was taken from his home in Kabowa, Kampala, and alleges that “his family had already relocated to a single room in Mbarara town in Western Uganda.” Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
85 Human Rights Watch interview, Ibrahim Bullu Lubega, Luzira Prison, Uganda, July 19, 2003.
86 Human Rights Watch interview, George Kasozi, Kigo Prison, June 17, 2003.
88 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
89 Human Rights Watch interview, George Kasozi, Kigo Prison, June 17, 2003.
91 Ibid. The charge sheet accuses him and others of establishing a rebel army called National Democratic Alliance, which directly attacked Kiwawu, Semuto, and Kiwoko Police Posts and a public transport at Wakyato along Ngoma Luwero Road in the Buganda region. Amended Charge, Uganda Police, February 25, 2003 (amending charge of February 3, 2003). Among other things, the charge alleges that Kasozi and others contrived a plot and established a rebel army between May and December, 2002. Kasozi was detained and kept in a safe house from mid-September 2002 to February 2003, however, raising the question of how he could have conspired or taken any overt steps in those two and a half months after his detention.
92 Human Rights Watch interview, George Kasozi, June 17, 2003.
93 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
94 Letter, Human Rights Watch to President Museveni, October 2, 2003. Human Rights Watch released the letter and an accompanying press release October 3, 2003.
95 Herbert Ssempogo and Irene Nabusoba, “Nine Charged with Terrorism,” New Vision, Kampala, October 3, 2003. The names of those charged—also listed in the Human Rights Watch letter—were given as Lt. Bukenya Gonzaga, Shawal Katumwa Waisswa, Armstrong Okumu Mulondo, Sam Namuteete (alias Simon Katimbo), Ismail Senfuka (alias Medi Kasujja), David Nserere Salongo Muwanga, and Fred Mubiru (seven). Two men, Iddi Shaban Makoye and James Kabaya Salongo Gunju, were charged in the same court martial but their names did not appear in the Human Rights Watch letter.
96 R. Mutumba, G. Kamali, and F. Kiwanuka, “CMI Denies Execution of Suspects,” New Vision, Kampala, October 3, 2003.
97 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
98 “CMI Denies Execution of Suspects.”
100 Human Rights Watch correspondence by email with refugee authorities of UNHCR, Kenya, and Uganda, October/November 2003.
101 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
102 Human Rights Watch, Abducted and Abused, pp. 42-43. The Ugandan government states that owing to inadequate manpower to defend the prison, the Fourth Division Commander Colonel Gutti and Overall Intelligence Coordinator Lt Colonel Otema consulted the Officer-in-Charge of Gulu Prison, Assistant Superintendent of Prison Masiga, and they all agreed to relocate the twenty-two alleged LRA prisoners to Gulu Barracks “as a temporary measure.” Letter, Colonel Noble Mayombo, CMI, to Jemera Rone, Human Rights Watch, March 13, 2004.
During the transfer process, according to the Ugandan government, prisoner “Peter Oloya attempted to resist the transfer by running away and bumped into a sentry. In the ensuing scuffle, Peter Oloya was seriously wounded by a gun shot and died while being taken to hospital. He was not deliberately shot at as alleged.” Despite the fact that the High Court ruled against the Ugandan government in early 2003 and ordered damages for the family of the dead prisoner, the government continued to insist, a year later, that Assistant Superintendent of Prison “Masiga witnessed all the above [Peter Oloya wounded in a scuffle, not deliberately shot] and deponed to those facts in a subsequent Court case.” Ibid.
103 Ibid. The Ugandan government denies the rape allegations, and says that “A Uniport was erected in the quarter guard compound to cater for her special status after a few days in the general prison. Although mixing her up with others was unfortunate, it could not be avoided immediately at the time of transfer . . . .” Ibid. The Ugandan Human Rights Commission found them credible. Human Rights Watch interview, Veronica Eragu Bichetero, June 13, 2003.
104 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
105 Ruling, Hon. Ronald Reagan Okumu and John Livingstone Okello Okello vs. Attorney General, High Court at Gulu, February 14, 2003.
106 Ruling, In the matter of Application for the Writ of Habeas Corpus and Subjuciendum by [applicant], High Court at Gulu, February 17, 2003.
107 Human Rights Watch, Abducted and Abused.
108 Human Rights Watch interview, civil litigation advocate, Kampala, June 16, 2003.
109 Human Rights Watch interview, Derrick, Kampala, June 18, 2003. Derrick is not his real name.
110 The hijackers were not in uniform, but they called each other by military ranks, such as sergeant and captain.
111 Human Rights Watch interview, Derrick, June 18, 2003.
112 Ibid.; Human Rights Watch saw a copy of a UPDF Medical Services patient discharge note reflecting that he was in the hospital for almost two weeks, with the diagnosis indicated.
114 Ibid. Human Rights Watch saw the report of a doctor who examined him four times in the two months after his release. The findings are consistent with his testimony.
115 Letter, Col. Noble Mayombo, UPDF, military intelligence and security, to Chairperson, UHRC, Kampala, December 26, 2002.
116 Letter, attorneys for complainant to Legal Officer, UHRC, Kampala, June 2002.
117 The government also alleges that arms were recovered from him after his arrest, and denies that any property was seized from him. Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004. Regardless of the accusations against him, torture is never justified.
118 This is a CMI location.
119 Human Rights Watch interview, Nicholas Luzinda, Kigo Prison, June 17, 2003.
120 Human Rights Watch interview, Veronica Eragu Bichetero, June 13, 2003.
121 UHRC, Annual Report, p.65-67.
123 Email, anonymous researcher to Rone, October 31, 2003.
124 Peter Mukidi Walubiri, “A Human Rights Audit of Operation Wembley,” August 31, 2002, p. 9. The author notes that President Museveni decreed that the General Court Martial try all the Operation Wembley suspects, and then appointed the head of the GMC himself, instead of allowing the army high command to appoint the court martial as set forth in law. He appointed Lt. Gen Elly Tumwine. Ibid., p. 15; see UHRC, Annual Report, p. 68.
125 The rate of conviction in civilian courts was reportedly only 6 percent of common criminal cases. UHRC, Annual Report, pp. 68-69. The UHRC blamed the low rate of conviction on the fact that the arresting agents (ISO or CMI or others who were not police) were not trained to gather and connect consistent evidence to prosecute the suspects, so the court was obliged to release them. Ibid., p. 68.
126 Human Rights Watch interview, Christopher Egesa Ochieng, Kigo Prison, June 17, 2003. This torture was also noted (among Operation Wembley victims) by FHRI. FHRI, “Human Rights Reporter,” p. 52.
127 The use of the cable wire for beating was referred to as “maksado.”
128 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
129 Human Rights Watch interview, Christopher Egesa Ochieng, June 17, 2003.
130 Email, anonymous researcher to Rone, November 2003.
131 Human Rights Watch interview, Christopher Egesa Ochieng, June 17, 2003.
132 Human Rights Watch interview, Joseph Kizza Kibaate, Kampala, Uganda, June 18, 2003.
133 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
134 The Ugandan government denies any torture but does not dispute that the charges against him were dropped. It says that he was arrested on July 5, 2002 by a police and ISO team during operations to crack down on armed robbery which had become rampant in Kampala. He was detained at a house in Nalukolongo suburb occupied by the aunt of one Matovu, who allegedly led the police to the home. The Ugandan government alleges that a sub-machine gun the group was planning to use in robberies was recovered from the house, where it had been hidden. Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004. Whatever the alleged crime, torture is not justified in any circumstance.
135 Human Rights Watch saw a xeroxed copy of a letter handwritten on letterhead from “The Republic of Uganda, Office of the President, Parliament Buildings, … Kampala.” It was dated August 6, 2001, addressed to the chairman of the Nazareth Zone, Kyanja (part of the area in dispute) and signed by the person in question (Simon).
136 Human Rights Watch interview, Ibrahim Lwere, Kampala, June 18, 2003. Human Rights Watch has seen copies of many letters addressed to various authorities in 2001-2003 complaining of a list of illegal activities by Simon and asking the authorities for redress. The latest seen was dated in June 2003. It was a letter from Ibrahim Lwere, Councillor, Kyanja Parish, Nakawa Division, to the Chairman, Defence and Internal Affairs, Parliamentary Committee, Parliament of Uganda, May 12, 2003.
137 Letter, signed by nine citizens of Kyanja, Nazaleth zone, Nakawa division, to Inspector General of Police, Police Headquarters, Kampala, February 28, 2002, re: Giving Misleading Information to Police in a Standing Land Wrangle: “Simon”.
138 A medical examination of the victim later, of which Human Rights Watch saw a copy, corroborated his allegations of torture.
139 The police investigated the killing; the victim, Ronald Kizza, reportedly was shot with three or four magazines of bullets, his face was obliterated, and all his pelvic bones broken. The police did not identify the killer and brought no charges. The letter to the Parliamentary committee alleges that the killing was reported in the newspapers as the killing of an escapee (allegedly Ronald Kizza) from a group of persons who were alleged to have murdered a prominent businessman. The news report was four days after the killing.
140 Human Rights Watch interview, Ibrahim Lwere, June 18, 2003.
141 He was a volunteer soldier in 1975-77 for Idi Amin. He left soldiering to become a farmer and rancher near Kampala. He joined the National Resistance Army (NRA) in 1985 until 1987 when he asked for and received permission to go back home, where he took up farming and ranching again.
142 The Ugandan government states that “the information that Lwere had deserted the army in 1987 caused charges to be amended to include that offence, but [he] was given a light sentence as the army policy on persons who deserted before the reduction-in-force exercise of 1992/1995 was to treat them lightly.” Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
143 Human Rights Watch interview, Ibrahim Lwere, June 18, 2003.
144 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
145 The second Congo war began in 1998 and pitted the DRC government, supported by Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia, against several rebel movements in DRC backed by Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. In 1999 the major parties signed the Lusaka Peace Accords and U.N. monitors were deployed. The accords were not respected and the DRC was in effect divided among four regimes, each of which depended on foreign troops to survive. Agreements were reached between two of three major rebel movements and the DRC government in April 2002. Later that year DRC reached bilateral accords with Rwanda (July) and Uganda (September), paving the way for withdrawal of their troops. Uganda briefly increased the number of its troops in Ituri in early 2003 but started final withdrawal in May 2003 on account of international pressure. See Human Rights Watch, Ituri: “Covered in Blood,” Ethnically Targeted Violence In Northeastern DR Congo (Human Rights Watch: New York, July 2003), p. 5.
146 Felix Osike, “PRA rebels speak out,”New Vision, Kampala, March 26, 2003; Felix Osike, “Two Ugandan Doctors Captured in Ituri,” New Vision (Kampala), Arua, Uganda, March 20, 2003. The Ugandan government now says that twenty-five Ugandan supporters of the PRA were detained in Ituri by the Lendu militia on March 8, 2003. It claims that they were trained, armed, and coordinated to attack Uganda by a country close to Col. Besigye, presumably Rwanda. Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
147 Human Rights Watch, Ituri: “Covered in Blood,” pp. 6-8, discussing Uganda’s role in the Ituri area. Uganda provided assistance to many of the Hema and Lendu ethnic-based militias in Ituri. Of the ten armed political groups operating in Ituri, since 1998 most have at one time or another been armed, trained, or politically supported by the Ugandan authorities, and Uganda has played a major role in at least five of these groups. Ibid.
148 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.
150 See Felix Osike, “Two Ugandan Doctors Captured in Ituri,” New Vision (Kampala), Arua, Uganda, March 20, 2003.
151 The existence and whereabouts of the six who surrendered were not known when the writ of habeas corpus was sought.
152 General Court Martial, UPDF, Charge, Uganda vs. Kasadi Bwamnbale Ezekiel et al, April 16, 2003.
153 Letter, Col. Noble Mayombo, CMI, to attorneys for the defendants, Kampala, April 30, 2003.
154 Letter, Colonel Mayombo to Rone, March 13, 2004.