A high-ranking Ugandan police officer has become the first government officer to face charges of torture in personal capacity under the Anti-torture act 2012.
Wandegeya District Police Commander Caeser Tusingwire was dragged to the high court in Kampala by a Ugandan journalist Mulindwa Mukasa with support from a coalition of human rights organisations, Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) and the Eastern Africa Media Institute Mulindwa Mukasa, dragged Tusingwire to Court accusing him of torturing him and violating his rights assaulting among other charges.
Through his lawyers Centre for Legal Aid, Mukasa alleges that on November 24, 2013, Tusingwire violated his rights as enshrined in Articles 23(1), 24, 26 of the Constitution when he ordered the officers to slap, unlawfully search and assault and confiscate his gadget while he was covering the mishandling of another journalist by police officers.
Mulindwa argues that he was arbitrarily, unlawfully restricted and arrested and his material deleted from his gadget by police officers acting on the orders of Tusingwire.
Robert Ssempala, the Coordinator of HRNJ, one of the organisations supporting the case, said the case seeks to reverse the rising tide of intolerance against the media and protect journalists against mistreatment and violations of their rights while on duty by the law enforcement officers.
“Given the deteriorating media working environment in Uganda, HRNJ-Uganda, CEPIL and EAMI-U have undertaken to offer joint support to journalists whose rights have been infringed upon or threatened by the public and law enforcement officers,” said Ssempala.
Haruna Kanabi, the Coordinator of EAMI-Uganda, said the suit is a strong reminder to all police officers that they will be personally held liable when they violate the rights of journalists.