A4C PRESS RELEASE
AT KAMPALA, October 21st 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,
We have invited you here once again to address issues arising out of the Walk to Work Week. In the last few days the government has showed the extent to which it is determined to go to restrict our rights and freedoms. We have been labeled terrorists and accused of treason. There has been a complete disregard of our human rights and the rule of law has been thrown out the window. Government has put aside all pretenses at civility and bared its knuckles, targeting activists in the harshest way.
The government has used scare tactics to try and intimidate the public into quiet submission. Specific activists were targeted for the harshest measures so that others might be frightened into silence. Yet even in the midst of the chaotic disruption of our peaceful activities there are those who remain resolute and determined to carry on with the campaign to the very end. We shall not let them down.
But first we would like to condemn in the strongest terms the brutal arrests and inhumane treatment of activists around the country. In Mbarara town yesterday morning, a procession of activists was brutally attacked by security forces as they peacefully protested the house arrest of Dr. Kizza Besigye. Police and LDU’s descended on Vincent Musiime and Bainomugisha Malice with knives and stones inflicting serious injuries on them during their arrest. They were detained at the police station and denied medical attention until their fellow activists intervened. Moses Byamugisha, Julius Amanya and Fred Kato who were arrested alongside Dr. Kizza Besigye in Kasangati on Tuesday were similarly brutalized during arrest and Kato is suffering severe injuries on his neck and rib cage. We are continuing to receive reports of police brutality against innocent people who are participating in the Walk to Work Week.
In Isingiro, activists Bahati Deo and Yasin Abdu Karim who have now been transferred to the Regional Police Office in Mbarara were denied food brought to them by their relatives. Three people, Mr. Rajab Kaya, Faridah Nakabugo and Jenny Lubega who tried to supply food to those detained at Jinja Road on Sunday were also detained with the rest. In Kabwohe and Bushenyi where a total of 13 activists were detained, our lawyers filed an application for an order for their release after their were held for more than the mandatory 48 hours without arraignment and by last evening they could not find a magistrate to hear the cases. At Kiira Road police station in Kampala Fiona Busingye unlawfully detained beyond 48 hours in police stations without arraignment. This unlawful detention happened also in Ntungamo, Hoima, Busia and Mbarara. At Nakawa court our colleagues Francis Mwijukye, Sam Mugumya and Ingrid Turinawe were charged with treason for successfully coordinating a country wide walk to work campaign. In Kasangati, Kizza Besigye was placed under house arrest and remained closely guarded by the military, anti-riot police and an array of plain clothes police officers. In Nangabo, Kasangati an LC Chairman and a lady known as Jane were taken from their homes by security operatives at night and their whereabouts are unknown. Several activists were unlawfully detained for 4 – 5 days in police cells at Jinja Road Police station. They were released without any charges and are preparing to sue the Attorney General and Inspector General of Police for unlawful detention.
We condemn in the strongest terms the police, military and security officers who have become a law unto themselves and use coercion to arbitrarily detain, torture, persecute and prosecute innocent citizens.
Today we are here to urgently make the following demands to the state:
1. The immediate and unconditional release of all activists who are unlawfully detained in police stations around the country
2. The unconditional dropping of all charges against activists including the ludicrous treason charges and the immediate release of remanded activists.
3. An immediate end to the siege of Dr. Kizza Besigye’s house by security forces and to his house arrest and the guaranteeing of his and all activists’ freedoms of movement and association.
Activists around the country will continue to demonstrate peacefully even beyond the Walk to Work Week, until these conditions are met.
We have notified the Office of the President and Police of our intention to converge for a rally at Kololo Independence Grounds for a rally tomorrow at 2pm and we would like to invite you all to join us there.
Hon. Mathias Mpuuga (MP)
National Coordinator (A4C)