Uganda Prisons dismisses torture claims by NUP supporters detained at Kitalya

Uganda Prisons has denied as untrue, reports of torture of opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters who are incarcerated at Kitalya government prison over various offences.

Over the weekend, there were reports of torture of NUP supporters who were remanded to Kitalya on various charges by courts of law.

The reports were being circulated by mostly NUP-leaning bloggers and social media commentators on both facebook and twitter.

NUP leader, Robert Kyagulanyi , also known as Bobi Wine reasoned with the bloggers saying that on two occasions he has visited some of the party supporters in Kitalya, adding that they are in sorry condition.

“I have been permitted to see them at Kitalya two times now. Their bodies are weak and frail. Very many of them have fallen sick behind the walls of Kitalya.  The hygiene behind those walls is sickening. The state of health care is alarming,”Kyagulanyi posted on his social media accounts.

“Even the basic rights have long been taken away from these comrades. At Kitalya, if one is found doing push-ups, that is  a severe crime. Then you are accused of plotting to escape from prison or planning to beat up prison warders. I am sure the comrades who have come out will have occasion to tell these stories better but I wanted to tell you that our comrades are living under dire conditions.”

However, addressing journalists on Monday, Uganda Prisons spokesperson, Frank Baine dismissed the claims as propaganda.

“There is a gentleman called Lumbuye and his group that have specialized in tarnishing the names and image of government officials and institutions and their focus seems to be security agencies, prisons inclusive.  They have been saying that Kitalya is a political detention centre for political prisoners which is not true and will never be,”Baine said.

Underscoring the detentions in the newly built Kitalya, Baine explained that the prison is a mini-max prison and one of the five isolation centres that the Uganda Prisons has in Kampala.

“There is no discrimination on who comes to Kitalya as long as you have come through court. The courts we have are either ordinary or military courts. Every person in Kitalya or any other prisons is accounted for. There is a record in court and prisons.”

“Whenever you are alleging, you should be good with your facts. It is very surprising that someone is calling Kitalya a torture chamber.  Unfortunately for us we don’t have political prisoners but those who have defaulted on the Penal Code Act. After failing to incite the public to go on riot for other reasons, targeting prisons is not going to be a solution to you.”

Baine also blasted the claims of poor hygiene caused by congestion at Kitalya, noting that this is a blatant and baseless lie.

“Capacity of Kitalya is 3000 inmates but even at the height of Covid, we never reached the 3000. Some of these claims are very blatant lies and misplaced. It is unfortunate that someone sits somewhere and starts fabricating information. We know this whole thing is about causing commotion but they will not succeed. Elections are done, people are back to work, we therefore can’t continue on propaganda.”

 

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