Court orders govt to pay MP Zaake Shs75m for torture

Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake (File Photo)

The High Court in Kampala has ordered Government to pay Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake shs75 million for being tortured during an arrest last year.

Zaake was last year brutally arrested by police for distributing Covid relief food items to his constituents contrary to government guidelines aimed at controlling the spread of the virus.

The legislator who was first detained at Mityana Police Station and later the Special Investigations Division in Kireka later sued the Attorney General on behalf of the government and individual senior security officers including Abel Kandiiho, the CMI chief, Elly Womanya, the then commandant, Police Investigations Division in Kireka, SSP Bob Kagarura, among others for torturing him.

In their defence, the security officers denied the accusations and instead said Zaake had been injured by handcuffs.

The State Minister for Internal Affairs, Obiga Kania also told Parliament that the Mityana Municipality legislator was never tortured during his arrest.

“Hon Zaake held the metallic door of the cells and also placed one leg inside in between metal bars so that it is difficult for police to pull him out. FFU personnel pulled him out by force from the metallic bars,” Kania told Parliament last year.

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“According to the statement of the car commander, Hon Zaake kept on knocking himself on the metals of the pick-up. It is probable that these injuries were as a result of the knocking.”

On Monday, Justice Esta Nambayo ruled that Zaake was tortured by security officers during his arrest last year.

In this case, a report from the African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims has the doctor’s recommendation showing that the applicant is in a great need of regular medical and psychological interventions, like physiotherapy of his back and the lower limbs together with verbal individual supportive therapy with psychoeducation and regular reviews by an ophthalmologist,” the judge ruled.

The judge also ruled that the infliction of pain and injury on Zaake during his detention by the Police infringed on his fundamental human rights to dignity and freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment protected under articles 20, 24, 44 (a) of the 1995 constitution.

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“ A declaration is hereby issued that the period between the 19th/04/2020 and the 29th 805 /04/2020, 10 days, that the applicant was detained for more than 48hrs before he was arraigned in the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Mityana, constituted unlawful and illegal detention and was in violation of his personal liberty under Article 23(4) (b) of the Constitution of Uganda.”

The judge consequently directed that government pays shs75 million to the legislator as compensation for the violation of his rights by police.

“It is hereby ordered that the first respondent(Attorney General) pays a sum of shs75 million to the applicant(Zaake) in compensation of violations of his rights and freedoms.

By Nile Post

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