The Registrar for the National Unity Platform political party in Kasese District Samuel Busindi Masereka is seeking to hold the former Director of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence Abel Kandiho personally liable for torture inflicted on him while in custody.
Masereka, whose rotting feet’s photos have circulated on social media has petitioned the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala, contends that he was arrested on January 7th 2022 in Kasese Town by three CMI personnel who confiscated his phone and barred him from informing his family members about what had happened.
He narrates that immediately after his arrest, a pistol was pointed in his mouth and ordered to remain silent as he was dragged into a drone car and whisked to Kasese Central Police Station and then to Kilembe Police Post where he spent a night.
He says when he asked the police officers to help him call his relatives and inform them about his arrest, they told him that they were under instructions that he doesn’t talk to anybody.
According to Masereka, the following day, men dressed in UPDF uniform picked him up together with a police officer he only identifies as Bwambale and took him to his home for a search which lasted for about three hours, and his property including a laptop, National ID, flash disk, SIM card and all NUP documents used for Mobilization were confiscated as exhibits.
Masereka notes that he was later handcuffed and driven to Kampala in the company of three UPDF operatives who hooded him and proceeded to an unknown destination.
Masereka says upon reaching that unknown destination which he later discovered from other detainees that it was CMI in Mbuya, he was undressed and taken while naked to the reception to have his particulars recorded.
He adds that on January 9th 222 while his arms at that time had spent three days handcuffed and his face hooded, he was led for interrogation before four officers who allegedly battered him with cables, flogged and waterboarded him after he had given answers to questions related to the funding and next move for NUP that the investigators found unsatisfactory.
According to Masereka, this was repeated every day until he was released on January 26th 2022 from the Special Investigations Department of Police in Kireka where CMI officers reportedly took him before being granted police bond on allegations of involving himself in subversive activities.
“One of the interrogators poured very hot water on my legs and feet out of which I developed grievous bodily injuries and wounds that are still visible and fresh to this date which had made my movement hard”, Masereka’s affidavit reads.
He Adds: “I was beaten to a point of becoming numb, had serious convulsions and later woke up finding myself sleeping in a solitary confinement with blood coming from my mouth, nose and genitals.”
Through his lawyers of PACE Advocates led by George Musisi, Masereka contends that the actions of the respondents were an abuse of their human rights obligations to have respect for human dignity and protection from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment.
Masereka while on his clutches addressed the media while his two feet oozed a mixture of pus with blood. His back which he displayed to journalists had a crisscrossed pattern of scars but which at least appeared to be healing steadily.
Masereka’s lawyer George Musisi says that he was driven and dropped in Mityana District and sadistically ordered to fend for himself and find how to reach Kasese and that his family was ignorant of his whereabouts and had reported a case of a missing person.
Musisi notes that his client was later admitted to St Francis Nsambya Hospital and he incurred huge bills to put his life back together and to date, he still goes to the hospital to dress the wounds and he is worried about his life will never be the same again.
Masereka now wants the court to declare that the 19 days he spent in CMI custody without any charges levied against him were a violation of his constitutional rights and also the torture and suffering inflicted on him are all unconstitutional. He also wants compensation for special and general damages.
In 2019, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni assented to the Human Rights Enforcement Bill, thereby putting in place a law that prohibits torture of suspects and imposing individual liabilities on a person found to have tortured a suspect or violated his constitutional rights while in State custody.
Masereka has also proceeded under this same Act to sue the former CMI Director Maj General Abel Kandiho to be held personally liable for torture by his officers whom he was supervising.
Kandiho is sued with the Attorney General but they are yet to be summoned to defend themselves over this case.
In 2021, the Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake was awarded more than 70 million shillings by Lady Justice Esta Nambayo for torture inflicted on him in state custody.
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