By Mukose Arnold Anthony
Mukono High Court has on Friday afternoon ordered the government of Uganda and three Police officers to pay, two suspect and ten activists 30M million as general damages, 5M and as punitive damages respectively 1M tortured suspect.
In a judgment by Justice Margaret Mutonyi but read the deputy registrar H/W Ssali Harriet, officer include Sarah Nakwanga the D/C Nagalama has been ordered to pay Aisha Ampiire 5M for torturous act of blind folding her during interrogation and inflicted metal mental and psychological torture.
ASP Brian Nyehangane the then Nagalama OC has been orders to pay 1M to each Aisha Ampiire and Nansubuga Saidat who happened to be applicant 2 and 3 respectively in the miscellaneous application 17 of 2017 for concealing the whereabouts of eleven children of Ampiire and Nansubuga, violated children’s’ rights under his superintendent as in charge.
ASP Brian Nyehangane together with Alfred Ndunguse have further been ordered to pay 1M to each of the ten (10) tortured activists of ‘The Alternative’ Social Movement activists during the 2017 anti-age limit amendment demonstrations.
ASP Nyehangane being the OC of Nagalama, allowed and superintended over the detention of these activists beyond the mandatory 48hours for no justifiable reasons. Nduguse ordered for the arrest and detention of the said activists for no justifiable reasons well aware that they were exercising the right to demonstration as allowed under the constitution of Uganda.
The government has been ordered to pay 30M to each of the two victims for emotional stress, torture, separated from their eleven children and denied them access to their children during their period of detention.
The government has further been ordered to pay 30M to each of the ten activists for violating their right to peaceful demonstration, unlawful arrest and detention; infringed on their fundamental rights and freedom amounti8nmg to psychological torture, mental anguish they were subjected to during police custody.
After receiving the judgment, Counsel Emmanuel Turomwe expressed happiness and said that he is just waiting for the lockdown to be lifted and he guides his clients on how to receive their money.
Eron Kiiza for the ten activists said that, the Judgment re-echoes the Constitutional Court’s repeated Rulings that peaceful demonstrations in Uganda are legal and it is not the work of police to curtail such demonstrations or harass the activists and other Ugandans participating in them.
“It is a message that courts will play their role in pushing back against the impunity of individual human rights violators in Police and other security agencies. Today’s Judgment echoes the Constitutional Court’s repeated Rulings that peaceful demonstration in Uganda are legal and it is not the work of police to curtail such demonstrations or harass the activists and other Ugandans participating in them” Counsel Eron noted.
“Tortue is absolutely prohibited both by Ugandan and International law and nothing can excuse it. It is barbaric and unacceptable under all circumstances without exception. Those who enforce law should do it with due regard to the dignity of Ugandans” Eron added
Eron Kiiza has further assured these activists that, as a firm, they shall continue to initiative swift and and strategic litigation to breathe life and meaning into the rights and freedoms of all persons in Uganda.
Speaking to the National Coordinator of The Alternative Socail Movement Mr. Norman Tumuhimbise, said that, as a generation, they won’t stop to agitate and fight for their constitutional rights and freedom in peaceful and non-violent means and that the judgment has re-energized them as activists and it should be a lesson to all security agencies and personnels, to always be ready to personally reliable for their ugly deeds.
It should be recalled, that on September 18, 2017 over ten Alternative Social Movement activists were arrested in down town streets of Kikuubo, Nakivubo mews and Kiseka in white overalls, bells and distributing fliers and appealing to Ugandans to join hands in solidarity against the then presidential age limit amendment which was being debated in parliament.
These included, Mucunguzi Abel, Agaba Johab, Mutebi Edris, Ssemwanga Jackson, Eria Musoke, Lutta Ferdinand, Atwine Eddy, Mubiru Bashir, Muwonge Ronald and Mushinzimana Galasi, they were later brutalized before being transferred from CPS in Kampala to Nagalama Police station whey they spent over a week.
After undergoing torture, these activists through Eron Kiiza of Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates, filed a civil suit at Mukono High against the Attorney General, ASP Brian Nyehangane and Alfred Ndunguse challenge the torture, inhumane and degrading treating subjected to them during arrest and detention.
Other applicants include Right Trumpents, Civil Society Organization, Ampiire Aisha and Nasubuga Sadat sued AIGP Asan Kasingye the then police spokesperson, SSP Emilian Kayima the then spokesperson for KMP, Sarah Nakwanga Sharifah, a one policeman only identified as Sam, ASP Brian Nyehangane and the Attorney General.
Activists filed application NO. 002/2017 and murder suspect relatives filed miscellaneous application NO. 017/2017 which was later consolidated due to similar facts and respondents.
Kasingye and Kayima were sued for issuing blatant messages and feeding the public with false information but, court said that the duo was communicating information from the guilty police officers.