Additional reporting by Samuel Muhimba
The Uganda Muslim Lawyers’ Association (UMLAS) has condemned the ‘brutal’ raiding of the leader of Jami’yyat Da’awah Assalafiyu (JDS), Sheikh Yunus Kamoga’s residence by Joint security teams on last Saturday.
This week a video clip showing law enforcement officers assaulting suspects found at Kamoga’s home before arresting them made rounds on social media.
On Friday, UMLA’s president Ali Kankaka said they were concerned by the torture and brutality meted out on the dwellers of the residence and the ’blatant’ abuse of their inalienable human rights prior to their arrests.
“We join other peace loving Ugandans to express our dismay and condemnation in the strongest terms possible the trauma this incident caused. This open violation of human rights follows a litany of earlier abuses. Indeed, the sanctity of rule of law is gradually being eroded by the same organs of the state that are mandated by law to enforce and uphold it,” Kankaka said.
Kankaka accused the state agencies of using torture to intimidate suspects despite the laws and instruments criminilising the vice being in place.
He further stated that while they pursue alternative options, UMLA’s commits not only to defend the rights of victims but also to take legal actions against the perpetrators of human rights abuses in their individual capacities.
He also warned that they intend to petition the Uganda Human Rights Commission for staying mute on torture meted on Ugandans by security officers.
”UMLA also intends to petition the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) whose silence continues to perplex us all, to open an inquiry to thoroughly investigate the culpability and unprofessionalism of the law enforcement officers who were involved so that appropriate action is taken to bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.
Kankaka cautioned government to desist from systematic abuse of legal processes and to restrain security agents from acting callously warning that if not, the country will regress into the dark days where the citizenry will lose trust in justice law order sectors and take matters in their own hands.
”We risk descending into a state of lawlessness birthed by this impunity and relentless violent abuses,” Kankaka said.
He added, “We further wish to reiterate to Government that peace-loving Ugandans are troubled and perplexed with the lack of accountability as no security agency has taken the initiative to apologise for this unprofessional behaviour or even offer an explanation.”
On Monday, the joint security spokesperson Fred Enanga told journalists that the raid followed alarms raised by certain members of the public over “unlawful confinement” of some people at the raided home.
”During our investigation, we managed to end up in the home of Sheikh Yunus Kamoga in Kawempe. We continue to investigate the alleged unlawful confinement of youths and adults who were 32 in number found at Sheikh Kamoga’s home where they were secretly teaching them the Islamic sharia law,” Enanga said.
However, according to UMLA, Enanga’s explanation for the raid is in contradiction of what is seen in the footage.
“Indeed, in the absence of this video, those responsible might have attempted to provide justifications for their unlawful actions,” Kankara said.