Rene Rutagungira, one of the 9 people including Ugandan senior police officers charged with abducting two Rwandese nationals before Makindye General Court Martial, has petitioned General David Muhoozi, the UPDF’s Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) seeking his intervention in matters concerning his rights.
Rutagungira claims his rights have been repeatedly violated during his detention.
In a letter dated 7th December 2017, Rutagungira through his lawyer Eron Kiiza says he spent more than three months in Military detention and that he went through various forms of torture.
He also noted that when he tried to bring this concern to the army court’s attention, he was stopped.
Rutagungira’s letter is copied to various agencies including the Office of the President, UN Human Rights, the Rwandan High Commission in Kampala, and Minster for Defense, the Attorney General and President of the Uganda Law Society; most of who have acknowledged its receipt.
The suspect says the Court Martial should have paid attention to his concerns because courts of law are there to protect people’s rights.
“But if an accused person cannot tell the General Court Martial that he was tortured, and it’s this same court trying him, who should he tell?” asked Counsel Kiiza.
The army court on 4th December 2017 adjourned the suspects’ bail hearing to the following day.
But according to Kiiza, when they returned to court and he tried to make submissions on the torture concerns – being that there was no affidavit on record opposing it — he was surprised to be told to edit out all the claims of torture and unlawful detention contained .
“(Our) clarification that torture, illegality of detention…are not only important considerations in applying for and making decisions on bail fell on deaf ears,” noted Kiiza.
He says he was told that torture complaints could only be made to the Security Minister Gen Henry Tumukunde, Head of CMI Brig Abel Kandiho, Capt. David Agaba, and other military officials, and also that the application would jeopardize the relations with high profile officials in the neighboring country.
It is on these grounds that Rutagungira through his lawyer wants the CDF, Gen Muhoozi to intervene to ensure that justice is served.
Last week, two other suspects in this case SSP Nixon Agasirwe and CP Joel Aguma applied for bail, presenting high ranking officers from the police as the sureties.
The State in response said they were not ready to react to the bail application and asked for an adjournment.
Court Chairman Lt. General Andrew Gutti adjourned the case to 12th December.