The Uganda Human Rights Commission has ordered the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence(CMI) to release Obed Katureebe, Public Affairs Officer at the Uganda Media Centre who was arrested two months ago.
“Whereas Obed Katureebe has been in your custody since May, 2, 2022,and whereas the commission is satisfied that the said person is being unlawfully detained or restricted, this is to direct you to cause immediate release from your custody forthwith,” the Uganda Human Rights Commission said in an order to the CMI commander dated July, 4, 2022.
The government human rights body warned of consequences in case CMI refuses to adhere to the order.
“Failure of which, you may be liable for contempt under Article 53(1) (d) of the Constitution.”
Established by the 1995 Constitution, the Uganda Human Rights Commission is a government body mandated to monitor and advance human rights in Uganda.
UHRC has powers to visit the various detention centres to ascertain the condition of detainees in regards respect to human rights.
The Constitution also gives the Uganda Human Rights Commission powers while carrying out its duties to operate like a court and therefore has the powers of a court to among others issue summons or any orders requiring the attendance of any person before the Commission or to produce any document or record for purposes of investigations and commit persons for contempt or failure to follow its orders.
The commission also has powers to order any person or organization to release a detained or restricted person
Katureebe was arrested in May by security operatives from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
The arrest followed concerns by the Rwandan government to Uganda asking them to reign in on some individuals accused of spreading hateful propaganda against the Kigali establishment.
Katureebe was mentioned as one of those spreading hate against Rwanda using social media under the pseudonym RPF Gakwerere.
“Despite all the positivity and progress of the 2nd visit to Kigali by Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, there’s still need to pay attention to underlying unresolved issues, raised from the start, of known hostile persons bent on destabilizing Rwanda, still operating in Uganda,” Yolande Makolo, the spokesperson of the Rwandan government said earlier this year.
“Also pending is continued hateful media propaganda produced by Uganda-based individuals incl. Obed Katurebe aka RPF Gakwerere, Sula Nuwamanya, Gerald Tindifa, Robert Higiro, Asiimwe Kanamugire, etc. We patiently await action by Ugandan authorities on this unfinished business.”
However, following Katureebe’s arrest, the pseudonym, RPF Gakwerere posted on social media claiming that the person who had been arrested was not them.
Gakwerere consequently demanded for Katureebe’s release.
Government spokesperson and the Uganda Media Centre Executive Director, Ofwono Opondo recently said Katureebe had been put under protection by security for his own safety.
“Obed is under security protection because of threats allegedly against his person details of which am yet to be provided with. I have been assured that he’s safe and not under arrest,” Opondo tweeted.
“I can confidently state that Obed Katureebe matter is being handled appropriately and professionally with those concerned. I will update the media when necessary.”