By Claire Owomugisha and Isaac Tayebwa,
The Mityana Municipality member of parliament Francis Zaake is at cloud nine after he won a lawsuit he filed against police officers in Mityana who tortured him last year as he distributed COVID-19 relief food to his constituents.
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.
He was first detained at Mityana Police Station and later the Special Investigations Division in Kireka.
The legislator who claimed was brutally tortured by police officers during arrest later sued the Attorney General on behalf of 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, the former Wamala Regional Police Commander, SP Alex Mwiine, the former Mukono District Police Commander, Twesigye Hamdan, a police officer attached to SID in Kireka, Musa Walugembe, the officer in charge of SID, Kireka and one Detective Assistant Commissioner of Police, Isaac Oketcho for torturing him.
In their defence, the security officers said Zaake had been cut by handcuffs.
It is recalled that the State Minister for Internal Affairs, Obiga Kania 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.
“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.” Minister Kania told parliament.
On Monday August 8, the high court in Kampala ordered goverment to pay UShs 75 million to MP Zaake for inflicting torture on him during the arrests.
In a ruling, Justice Esther Nambayo said 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 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.
“ 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.”
Justice Nambayo further 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.
Upon receiving the good news, the legislator run to his social media platforms and posted, “Delighted to win the lawsuit I filed against criminal police officers Mwine Alex Mukono (former DPC Mityana Municipality) & Bob Kagarura (former RPC Wamala Region) + operatives at SIU torture facility in Kireka who tortured me for donating food to neighbours during 1st lockdown.” MP Zaake said on Twitter.
“Happy that like the proverbial dead clock that is correct twice a day, the Judiciary has delivered justice at a time when many other victims of worse state wrongs are routinely denied redress. We must keep pushing until getting justice is a certainty, not just a possibility.”Follow Us on Social Media