KAMPALA, UGANDA: Uganda’s Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka has appealed against an order directing the government to compensate Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake with 75 million Shillings for the torture inflicted on him while in state custody.
The order was issued by High Court Judge Esta Nambayo on August 9, following a case in which Zaake sued eight police officers after being detained at various detention facilities, where he was allegedly tortured affecting his eyesight and right leg.
Zaake was in April last year held at Mityana police station, the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence headquarters in Mbuya, and at the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka, from where he was transferred to the Japan-Uganda Friendship Hospital in Naguru and later to Kiruddu Hospital in Makindye with bruises which allegedly resulted from torture while in custody. He was released on April 29, 2020, on police bond.
But through his lawyers led by Eron Kiiza, Zaake petitioned the High Court seeking to be compensated for the human rights violations that he endured during the time of his arrest and detention. On the basis of this petition, the High Court Judge awarded Zaake a compensation package of 75 million Shillings.
But the government is challenging the judgement and according to a notice of appeal filed by the Attorney General’s chambers, the state intends to appeal against part of the decision. The notice however doesn’t show which specific part of the decision the Attorney General is not satisfied with.
To support the Attorney General’s decision, a State Attorney Johnson K. Natuhwera, writing on behalf of the Solicitor General has also written to the Registrar of the Civil Division of High Court seeking a certified copy of the record of proceedings to enable them to formulate their grounds of appeal.
But speaking to URN, Zaake’s lawyer Eron Kiiza has described the actions of the Attorney General as ‘aimed at delaying their client from getting fruits of effective justice.’ He added however that Zaake will also be cross appealing on Justice Nambayo’s decision as to why she didn’t find the eight police officers liable for his torture.
Justice Nambayo’s decision was based on the medical reports and video clips tendered before the court, and she concluded that the injuries were inflicted on him while in police custody. The Judge also relied on a report submitted before Parliament by the then Minister of Internal Affairs Jeje Odongo and another from the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims which showed that Zaake had injuries and symptoms consistent with torture and ill-treatment.