Uganda: Besigye Lashes Out at Police Court Over Brutality Trials

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has described the Police court as "drama" even as he declared a move to have police officers answer for alleged crimes as "a great victory for the people".

Dr Besigye, who was speaking to journalists outside his Katonga Road offices in Kampala shortly after an uninterrupted procession through parts of the city, said it was ironical for the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, to have his juniors charged even after praising them for beating Ugandans.

"I consider what they did to charge them [Police officers] as drama because the person who ordered them, who applauded their actions and congratulated them for doing a good job, is the same person charging them," he said.

Bravo to public

Without public pressure, the former presidential candidate said the Police leadership would not have taken any action on the errant officers.

"We are starting to see the effects of a people, Ugandans, who are waking up and saying this is our country. They were calling them hooligans, now beating a hooligan they know can cost you a job; they know it can take you to prison. They are beginning to realise there are citizens in this country who have rights over their country," he said.

Police have in the last two weeks come under intense criticism for high-handedness and brutality against unarmed civilians. Some of the police commanders, who participated in the exercise, are on trial in the police court while the Inspector General of Police and other senior officers have been summoned to appear before Makindye Chief Magistrate's Court to explain their role in the incidents.

The incidents have been condemned by among others Parliament, human rights bodies, including Uganda Human Rights Commission and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

Dr Besigye said appearing before court alone was a humiliation for the officers who the IGP had earlier applauded. He said the option of preferring more charges against the accused officers was still on table. "There are offences for which they are not going to be charged, offences of torture, they have not been charged; for torturing Ugandans. We can charge them and should charge them in ordinary courts."

The appeal

Meanwhile, Dr Besigye has appealed to the Director of Public Prosecutions to only take up the case in which the police chief, Gen Kayihura, and seven other senior officers have been summoned to appear before Makindye Chief Magistrate's Court to answer torture related charges.

Dr Besigye said there was a history of the DPP taking over criminal cases and instead "killing them".

"If the DPP takes over this case, he should prosecute it together with those who have taken the case to court so that evidence can be produced in court and the accused defends self or court decides there is no case to answer."

DPP Mike Chibita in an interview yesterday said he was yet to study the case. "I have asked to look at the papers of that case and the interest or not will develop after that process," he said.

Source: The Monitor.


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