Uganda: Police beatings of opposition supporters must be investigated
In response to the Ugandan police beating hundreds of supporters of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party in the capital Kampala, Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:
“Amnesty International is appalled by the deliberate and senseless beating of unarmed opposition supporters, the latest episode in the now all too familiar and systematic pattern of police brutality in Uganda. The beating of people gathering peacefully is cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law, which Uganda must respect. In severe cases it may even amount to torture.”
“The relevant authorities must immediately order an independent, impartial, efficient and transparent investigation into these incidents. Where sufficient, admissible evidence points to responsibility of individuals, including command responsibility, such persons must be prosecuted in fair trials.”
The Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, was quoted in the Ugandan press today as saying the beatings were justified “because when you are beaten, you don’t die.”
Images and videos that have been widely shared online and on social media show uniformed police officers and other men in plainclothes, some on pickup trucks and others on foot, indiscriminately whipping people using canes and what appear to be electric cables.
The beatings took place on 12 and 13 July as FDC supporters lined the roads to cheer Kizza Besigye, who was the party’s presidential candidate in the February elections, after he was granted bail in his ongoing treason trial.
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