Thursday, March 24, 2011

Torture, Beatings, Confessions, Courtesy of Uganda Police....

This is common knowledge in Uganda. The beatings, the torture, the confessions.

This is why I doubted the 'confession' of David Kato Kisule's purported murderer. I dont know whether he killed him or not. And, I dont know whether I can trust the police on a high profile case like David's murder became. Not with such outside pressure and interest.

Here is the article,from the New York Times and a large excerpt. Rights Group Accuses Ugandan Police of Torture and Killings

The report, by Human Rights Watch, focuses on the activities of an agency known as the Rapid Response Unit, a branch of the Uganda police service created to tackle violent crime. The unit has also become an ally of the United States in combating terrorism. Most recently, it helped investigate the terrorist attacks in Uganda's capital, Kampala, during the World Cup last year, in which more than 70 people died.
The report says that members of the unit, called the R.R.U., have repeatedly broken the law. "Since the unit was established, R.R.U. officers and affiliated personnel have carried out arrests for a wide range of crimes, from petty theft to terrorism," it said.
The Ugandan government declined to comment on the report.
Of 77 people interviewed, Human Rights Watch said, 60 said they had been tortured by members of the unit. Common abuses included beatings on wrists, ankles, knees and elbows while suspects were handcuffed in stress positions.
"R.R.U. personnel beat detainees with batons, sticks, bats, metal pipes, padlocks, table legs and other objects," the report said. "Suspects often said they were forced to sign confessions under duress following torture."
According to the report, members of the response unit committed six extrajudicial killings in 2010; some people were beaten to death, and some were shot, including one person who was handcuffed when he was shot.
Others were imprisoned without being charged, the group said. Some suspects were transported in the trunks of unmarked cars, or severely beaten, the report said.
Mustafa Ssendege, 35, a former security guard, was detained with two others by three officers from the unit after a robbery at a house he was guarding.
After two nights in a police station, the three men were taken back to the house, where they were tied up and beaten repeatedly with metal pipes while the officers told them to confess. One man, Frank Ssekanjako, finally collapsed.
"He said, 'Instead of beating me, why don't you just shoot me to die,' " Mr. Ssendege recalled. "And the officer said, 'No, you will die from the beatings.' "
Human Rights Watch described the response unit as the "preferred unit" for those seeking arrests or confessions "by any means."
"In cases we looked at by R.R.U., suspects were beaten until they confessed, paraded before journalists and dubbed hard-core criminals and then put on trial before military officers," said Maria Burnett, a researcher for the group in Uganda.

Well, that is my country. The problem is, the government has grown so media controlling that, they know how to control almost all news from the country. But, what HRW reports is also part of the fodder of the Uganda Human Rights Commission reports.
The people who do these things, the numerous security agencies that do these, are effectively immune.

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2 comments:

LKT said...

I saw this article but didn't think to relate it to David Kato's murder. Thank you for making the connection.

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