2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


1859. By letter dated 21October 2002, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 2000 regarding which no reply had been received.

Urgent appeals

1860. On 19 April 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Yvan Kayitana Rukesha, a former Rwandese army officer, Adolphe Dusabe, a former Rwandese police officer, and four other former members of the Rwandese security forces, who are said to face forcible repatriation to Rwanda, where they are believed to be at risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. They were reportedly among 16 former members of the Rwandese security forces who were denied refugee status in Uganda. The Ugandan authorities returned Michael Kanyamahanga, Joseph Akayezu, Habimana, to Rwanda on 5 April 2002, and a further seven on 10 April 2002. It is reported that the Ugandan authorities described these returns as "voluntary", but it is alleged that they may have gone under duress. A total of 53 former members of the Rwandese armed forces had been in military custody for several months. The Ugandan authorities have granted refugee status to the remaining 37. Furthermore, it is reported that the 43 men (the 37 granted refugee status and the six at risk of being forcibly returned) remain in prolonged military detention without charges.

1861. On 7 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Susan Nabukenya and Margie Kyeyune, who were said to be detained in Kampala Central police station, on grounds of their alleged sexual orientation. On 26 April 2002, a broadsheet newspaper Red Pepper is said to have reported that on 25 April 2002, the two women had arranged a private “engagement” ceremony presided over by a pastor. They were said to have been arrested on 1 May, reportedly under Paragraph 140 of the Penal Code, which stipulates that “[a]ny person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” is subject to 14 years' imprisonment. They are said to have been released on 3 May, but were reportedly re-arrested a couple of hours later during the night.

1862. On 23 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on behalf of Stephen Otim, David Penytoo, Alex Otim, Pidu Lukwiya, Tony Kitara, Aida Lagulu, George Obita, Francis Onen, Martin Ojara, Alex Okwerowat,Charles Picha, Justo Ojwiya, Michael Lakony, Jekeph Odong, Paul Akuch Okot, Federiko Ocan, Bosco Oti, Moses Atuku Akena and George Abedo who were said to be held by the Ugandan army, the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) in Gulu Municipality. On 16 September 2002, Peter Oloya was killed by the UPDF in a suspected extrajudicial execution within the prison grounds, as UDPF forces tried to illegally remove all 21 prisoners from Gulu Central Prison. The 21 men were reportedly arrested in March and charged with the murder of the Pabbo District Chairman whilst canvassing for the opposition during the local government elections in Gulu. They were both key campaigners for the opposition multipartyist candidate, and it seems that their arrest may be due to their political activities during the campaign. The rest of the men were arrested on murder and treason charges related to the ongoing conflict between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Following the raid by the UPDF all 21 prisoners, including the body of Peter Oloya, were illegally moved to military detention at the UPDF's 4th Barracks in Gulu, where they remain.

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small logo   This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.