The Chief Magistrate’s Court in Mityana has issued criminal summons against six police officers to answer charges related to torture of Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake.
Zaake was arrested on April 19 from his home at Buswabulongo in Mityana municipality for distributing Covid-19 relief food contrary to the presidential directive that banned the same for fear of spreading the deadly virus.
He was later detained at the Special Investigations Division headquarters in Kireka.
On Monday, the legislator pressed for torture charges against individual police officers prompting court to summon them.
The police officers summoned include Senior Commissioner of Police, Elly Womanya, the commandant, Police Investigations Division in Kireka, SSP Bob Kagarura, the Wamala Regional Police Commander, SP Alex Mwiine, the Mukono District Police Commander, Twesigye Hamdan , a police officer attached to SID in Kireka, Musa Walugembe, the officer in charge of SID, Kireka and one Detective Assistant Commissioner of Police, Isaac Oketcho.
“You are hereby commanded by the Uganda government to appear in this court on August 5,2020 without fail,” the court summons read in part.
In his affidavit in a civil suit he filed before the High Court in Kampala, Zaake said officers fastened a rope and chain onto metallic seats above him on a patrol vehicle and suspended his body above the metallic floor as he dangled below the seats.
“After suspending me below the police truck’s behind seats, the officers drove me at a very high speed. Whenever we hit humps or potholes, my body would swing violently and hit the sides of the metallic surroundings. I eventually became numb in my legs and hands as a result of the unbearable pain,” Zaake said the affidavit.
However, according to charges before the Mityana magistrates court, the six officers are accused of torture contrary to sections 2 and 4 of the Prevention and prohibition of Torture Act 2012.
The state alleges that between April,20 and April, 22, 2020 the accused while at Special Investigations Division in Kireka intentionally inflicted or acquiesced to the infliction of severe physical and metal pain and suffering on Francis Zaake while he was detained at SID.
The charge sheet also alleges that this was done through systematic beatings, flogging, slapping, kicking and punching on different parts of the body and detained him incommunicado.
The charge sheet also alleges that while arresting and transferring Zaake from his home in Mityana to Mityana Police Station and later Special Investigations Division, he was beaten, sprayed with pepper, slapped , kicked and punched.
The Internal Affairs Minister Obiga Kania recently told parliament that Zaake was never tortured.
“According to the statement of the car commander, Hon Zaake kept on knocking himself on the metals of the pick-up. It is probable that these injuries were as a result of the knocking,”Kania told Parliament in May.