Uganda: – Human Rights Watch deplores Uganda for using its measures against the Coronavirus to persecute and torture opponents

Madrid, April 28. (Europe Press) –

The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch) condemned, on Tuesday, the opposition, Francis Zaka, was tortured by agents of the Ugandan security forces after his arrest on April 19 of this year when he was distributing food to those affected. Movement restrictions imposed to stop the novel coronavirus epidemic.

On March 30, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni ordered police to arrest politicians who were distributing food, as these donations had to pass through a task force organized by the government.

This is one of the measures issued by the government, in addition to preventing the movement of public and private transport, as well as opening non-essential businesses and institutions, to stop the epidemic.

Human Rights Watch said that police arrested Zaki at his home in Myitiana, 70 kilometers north of Kampala, the capital, while he was distributing food to his neighbors. The NGO adds that at first he was not allowed to see his lawyer when he was transferred to the police station.

The NGO denounced that the Ugandan government authorities are using the measures imposed to halt the progress of the epidemic in the country to persecute opposition groups and human rights, and have also made clear, it said, attacks against civilians, journalists or members. From collective LGTB.

Uriem Nikko, a researcher with Human Rights Watch in Uganda, recalls that “police brutality is always prohibited, whether there is a pandemic or not.”

Three days after his arrest, Zaki, who was still in police custody at the time, was transferred to Kampala Hospital, where several witnesses confirmed to the NGO that he was in poor condition, unable to walk and apparently beaten.

“The Ugandan authorities must urgently investigate these allegations and hold the perpetrators accountable,” Nikko said.

Paul Moyro, a colleague of his in Parliament, who was able to visit him while he was in detention, confirmed to Human Rights Watch that Zach “had a lot of bruising on his face and“ he could not move because he was beaten so badly ”.

Zaki’s lawyer, Medard Sigona Lobega, expressed himself in similar terms, after visiting him in the hospital, seeing how “his legs were swollen and his head bruised.”

Zaki, who assured his lawyer at the hospital that he was being held, was in such circumstances that the same judge in charge of his trial – the authorities accusing him of attempted murder and disobedience – refused to press charges against him so as not to. Receive medical treatment.

Nikko, who requested again for “quality medical care” for Zaki and “investigates these serious allegations”, insisted that “the coronavirus epidemic does not give the government or authorities the right to attack critical voices or members of the opposition.” From torture. “

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