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LAWYER PETITIONS PRISONS BOSS BYABASHAIJA OVER KAKWENZA HEALTH

By Joel Mugabi

Two days after Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza issued directives on the medical examination of novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, his lead lawyer Eron Kiiza has written to Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) Commissioner General Dr Johnson Byabashaija urging him to fast-track the implementation of the order by the temple of justice.

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On Tuesday, Buganda Road Court remanded Kakwenza to Kitalya Prison until Friday, January 21, 2022. The 33-year-old writer, and resident of Kisaasi Central in Kampala City’s Nakawa Division, was charged with two counts of offensive communication contrary to section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011.

Prosecution alleges that between December 24 and 28, 2021, while in Kampala District, Kakwenza willfully and repeatedly used his Twitter handle Kakwenza Rukira (@kakwenzarukira) to disturb the peace of His Excellency the President of Uganda, Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, as well as that of first son and Commander Land Forces (CLF) Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, with no purpose of legitimate Communication.

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A day after Rukirabashaija was charged and remanded, Kiiza visited him at Kitalya Government Prison to ascertain his health status and the extent of his alleged torture. According to a letter he wrote to Byabashaija, Uganda’s Chief Jailer, Counsel Kiiza says that his client told him that he had been tortured by soldiers he believed belong to the elite Special Forces Command (SFC), a unit charged with presidential security and other special operations.

In his January 13 letter to the Commissioner General, Kiiza also reported that when he visited Kakwenza at Kitalya, UPS officers were “doing their best to treat his tortured body,” adding that “SFC tortured him everywhere except his head.”

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The human rights lawyer further claimed that the novelist’s back was “full of wounds.” He went on to allege that the award-winning writer had told him that SFC operatives based in Entebbe had “plucked pieces of his body from his thighs with pliers.” From his observation, Kiiza also reported that Kakwenza’s arms, feet, legs, buttocks, palms, and fingers “bear visibly pitiable torture marks and wounds.”

It is against this background that the lawyer has urged the chief jailer to honour court directives and ensure justice for the youthful writer.

“This is therefore to request you to cause his immediate medical examination and furnish both the court and ourselves with a copy of his medical report,” wrote Kiiza. “Your swift cooperation will advance justice and is in the interest of the health and life of Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.” (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us atmulengera2040@gmail.com).

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