Uganda, Kampala- Muslims have welcomed the ruling by Justice Margaret Oguli directing the Uganda government to compensate the suspects on remand in connection to the murder of former Uganda Police Spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi. On Thursday, Justice Oguli ordered government to compensate each of the 23 suspects, Uganda Shillings 80 million for the violation of their rights.
The ruling was in response to an application filed by the suspects through Human Rights Lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuzi protesting their torture while in state custody.
“The applicants are still suspects until proven guilty. And therefore should be treated well without torturing them,” Oguli said in her ruling.
The suspects also sought court orders compelling government to allow them to access treatment and undergo medical examination to ascertain the cause of the wounds on their bodies.
The suspects include among others Abdu Rashid Mbazira, Buyondo Mohammed, Higenyi Aramazan Noor Din, Mugerwa Yusuf aka Wilson, Bruhan Balyejusa, Maganda Umar Aramathan, Ahamada Senfuka Shaban, Hassan Tumusiime, Ibrahim Kiisa, Osman Mohammed Omarete, Magambo Hamidu, Abdu Majid Ojerere, Kyambadde Joshua Magezi and Musa Ntende Abubaker.
Now, Siraji Kifampa, the Spokesperson of Jam’iyyat Da’wah Assalafiyya-JDS has welcomed the court ruling, saying they are happy with the development but believe it is partial justice.
“Accepting to compensate them and their families, but keeping them in jail should be seen as a dent on our justice system. We at JDS insist our brothers are innocent. They neither have the coldheartedness, the weapons, nor the sophistication that were exhibited in the murder of Afande Kaweesi,” he said in a statement.
Adding that, “The money will certainly help cover some gaps in the lives of the families of the suspects. On the other hand, this is proof torture as being one of this government’s practices, which is illegal in the laws of Uganda. At JDS, we also demand for justice for the family of Afande Kaweesi, which is crying out to the state to produce the killers of their breadwinner to book.”
He says it is surprising that the investigations almost ended after the arrest of our Muslims brothers, yet President Museveni, in the state of nation address, made it categorically clear that the Muslim suspects were not the one that had killed the AIGP.
“As the true killers are seated somewhere in air conditioned offices waiting to be deployed to another deadly mission, families of both the AIGP and our Muslim brothers are agonizing,” he said.
Kifampa says as the world powers are ending torture as a way of getting information from suspects, evidenced by the ongoing closure Guantanamo, Uganda is busy upgrading the NalufenyaTorture Facility (NTF).
“We MUST all condemn torture in the strongest terms possible and the wastage of state resources in compensation verdicts for actions that would have been avoided,” he said.
Adding that, “At the same time, the continued detention of suspects over and beyond the required period, and denying them bail is a clear violation of their human rights. Time and again this government has used Muslims as a cover up for the atrocities they have committed on many Ugandans. We demand complete justice.”
Kaweesi was gunned down on March 17th, 2017 together with his body Kenneth Erau and Bodyguard, Godfrey Mambewo minutes after their left his home in Kulambiro in Nakawa Division in Kampala. Two unidentified gunmen riding on a motorcycle intercepted the trio’s vehicle and opened fire killing them instantly.
Kaweesi was at the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police when he was gunned down leaving behind an expectant widow and two children. Following Kaweesi’s killing; police went on rampage and picked up several people, majority of them Muslims from numerous parts of the country.