The High Court in Kampala has ordered government to pay in damages opposition strongman and Forum for Democratic Change’s Dr.Kizza Besigye to a tune of shs10 million for being pulled off a plane in 2016.
Besigye’s much- hyped return to the country following the 2016 polls ended in his arrest by police when he was grabbed from the plane as it landed at Entebbe and driven to his home in Kasangati.
Through his lawyers, Besigye sued government for embarrassment and inhumane treatment.
On Friday, justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that it was an embarrassment, the manner in which the four time presidential candidate was treated by police during the arrest .
“Police ought to have arrested him in a dignified manner especially at the airport which is our gateway for tourists and foreigners coming into and going out of the country,”Ssekaana said.
The judge said the manner in which the arrest was done can only be best described as being cruel adding that police ought to have performed better.
“The Police knew well in advance that they were to effect the arrest on arrival and should have presented written reasons before his arrest at the airport.”
The judge however said that the arrest was justifiable because a number of people had gathered at the airport to welcome Besigye and police had to swing into action in order to stop paralysis of traffic along the Entebbe highway.
“Basing on history of the 2011 incident when the same highway was blocked by the supporters of the plaintiff upon his return was justified in effecting his preventive arrest,”Ssekaana ruled.
Despite requesting for shs300 million for the inconvenience caused, the judge however said Besigye should only be compensated to a tune of shs10 million.
On October 3, after spending a month in the US, Besigye made a hyped return to Uganda but this never materialized after counter terrorism police personnel in a daring mission arrested him from the airport, drove off in a 6 vehicle convoy via the old airport terminal usually used by the President and UN officials before delivering him at his home in Kasangati.
Speaking about the incident, Besigye then said he had been arrested by two police officers dressed in Civil Aviation Authority uniform.
“They were waiting at the steps of the plane.This time putting on uniform of CAA,they captured, lifted and put me in an airport CAA vehicle,”Besigye told journalists at his home in Kasangati.
“It is at the old airport that the police vehicles were parked and I was pulled out of CAA to a police vehicle and drove off like crazy.”
He narrated that they drove off up to Namulanda where the convoy dropped off the main road to a murram one along the Entebbe Express highway up to Nakawuka and then Busega roundabout.
Besigye said he was then driven along the Northern bypass up to Kaleerwe roundabout before connecting to Gayaza road up to his home.
He later decried the manner in which he was inhumanely arrested by police.
“This should be condemned. A senior citizen like me is kidnapped from the airport, passport not stamped and luggage is left at the airport? You can’t invite investors to come and see pictures like they saw today. What happened to me today is a clear indication of how far we have gone,” he told journalists.