The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martins Okoth Ochola has condemned the use of torture in arrest and interrogation of suspects.
“I have worked in CID for over 10 years, I have been in police for over 30 years, but I have never tortured anyone, so why should a police officer torture someone? Torture is a criminal case and if we arrest you, we take you to a criminal court,” Mr Okoth Ochola said.
His statement comes barely a week after the reported torture of MPs Robert Kyagulanyi and Francis Zaake, following their arrest in Arua on Monday.
The MPs had travelled to the West Nile district to rally support for Mr Kassiano Wadri (independent), who was eventually elected the Arua Municipality PM.
However, chaos ensued when Wadri supporters clashed with supporters of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and reportedly obstructed the president’s motorcade.
More than 30 people were arrested in the aftermath. But images have emerged and some of those arrested are unable to walk, and others covered in bruises all over the body.
One of them Francis Zaake, the Mityana Municipality MP, is admitted in Lubaga Hospital as a result of injuries from the torture. Zaake is feeding through tubes and supported by a nebulizer to breathe.
Although no images of Bobi Wine have been released since the time of his arrest, his lawyers, wife and the officers of the Uganda Human rights Commission, who met him at Makindye Military barracks on Friday, said that he was severely tortured and is in great pain.
“His forehead is bruised and his eyes are red. He has many wounds including one on his ear. He seems to have been punched many times on the face. He cannot walk. He cannot sit straight. He speaks with difficulty and has a lot of pain breathing,” his wife Barbie Kyagulanyi narrated after the visit.
Although Mr Ochola declined to comment about the Arua incident in an interview with this reporter, he said that no police officer will be tolerated if found to have tortured a suspect in any way.
Mr Ochola also advised those who have been tortured by police officers not to report the matter at the Professional Standards Unit (PSU), but rather to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) headquarters in Kibuli since it’s a criminal offence.
According to the Anti-Torture Act, every individual who tortures someone takes individual liability and can be imprisoned for up to seven years on conviction.