The High Court in Mukono has awarded Shs 30 million each to 12 people who were illegally arrested and tortured during demonstrations against the amendment of the Constitution to remove presidential age limits as well as the murder of former Police spokesman, Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
The 12 are applicants in two separate suits against the state and individual police officers, seeking compensation and general damages for the torture they were subjected to during their detention.
Applicants in the first suit were, Abel Mucunguzi, Johan Agaba, Edris Mutebi, Jackson Ssemwanga, Eria Musoke, Ferdinand Luta, Eddy Atwiine, Bashir Mubiru, Ronald Muwonge and Galasi Mushizimana who were arrested on September 18, 2017, during protests against the age limit amendment.
In a judgement read by the Mukono High Court registrar, Harriet Ssali, Justice Margret Mutonyi blamed the police for abusing the applicants’ right to a peaceful demonstration before declaring their arrest and detention unlawful.
The judge also directed Brian Nyehangane, the Officer in Charge of Naggalama Police Division to pay Shs 1 million to each of the applicants for arresting and detaining them beyond the mandatory 48 hours.
The applicants will also receive another Shs 1 million from Alfred Ndugtse who ordered their arrest and detention well aware that they were exercising their Constitutional right to demonstrate.
One of the applicant’s lawyers Emmanuel Turyomwe express displeasure at the court for ignoring passing stringent penalties against other police officers like AIGP Asan Kasingye and Emilian Kayima who were the police spokesmen at the time his clients were arrested and tortured.
In the second suit, two women Aisha Ampiire and Sadati Nansubuga were also awarded Shs 30 million for illegal detention and torture. The women are spouses to some of the suspects charged with Kaweesi’s murder.
The two together with their 11 children were arrested by police officers from Naggalama police station and detained in several places for 51 days without any charges being brought up against them.
The court directed that Detective Constable Sarah Nankwanga attached to Nagalama Police Station should to pay Ampiire Shs 5 million as a punishment for her actions of torture by blindfolding her.
Nyehangane was ordered to pay Shs 1 million to Nansubuga for concealing the whereabouts of her children.