Former Kitalya Prison Inmates Sue Government Over Torture, Homosexuality Allegations

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • July 22, 2020

Twenty former inmates from Kitalya prisons in Wakiso district have sued government for compensation. The former inmates were picked up from a house in Kyengera Town Council in Wakiso district towards the end of March this year for flouting Covid-19 preventive guidelines.

The applicants are Henry Mukiibi, Douglas Tumuhimbise, Andrew Kibalama, Saddam Kateregga, Raj Jjuuko, Kelvin Kugonza, Denis Ssamula, Abbey Gwanvu, Kareem Yiga, and Harris Tevin Kifuba, Jabel Tushabomwe, Ivan Kawooya, Ashraf Walugembe, James Tendibwa, Mark Muhereza, Joel Oketch, Ronald Ssenyonga, Rodney Ssheema, and Jackson Mayanja.

Following their arrest, the applicants were detained at Nkonkonjeru Police Post before they were arraigned before Nsangi Magistrate’s court with an act that is likely to spread infectious disease and remanded to Kitalya Prison.

However, the charges were dropped months by the state paving way for their release from prison. Now, the former inmates have in partnership with Human Rights Awareness and Promotions Forum sued government, Kyengera Town Council, the LC III Chairperson, Hajji Abdul Kiyimba and Principal Officer Philimon Woniala.

The applicants accuse Kiyimba of hurling insults at them for allegedly being homosexuals and assaulting three of them with a big stick before ordering that they are tied up with ropes and marched in a procession to Nkokonjeru Police Post.

The applicants also allege that Local Defense Unit personnel under Kiyimba’s command searched their house without a warrant and invited Journalists and the general public to look at them claiming they were homosexuals.

Woniala, who reportedly described himself as the Deputy Officer in Charge of Kitalya prison is faulted for having burnt Walugembe between the thigs with a piece of wood over similar allegations.

He also reportedly superintended over the torture of the applicants by fellow inmates. The applicants claim that they were humiliated and subjected to physical, mental and psychological violence on ground they were homosexuals, which violated their right to freedom from discrimination.

One of the applicants, Rodney Sheema alleges that he was subjected to anal examination to ascertain whether he was a homosexual or not, which he says exposed him to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

According to Sheema, a Prison Warder he identified as Ankwantsa ordered another prisoner a one Kaliisa to sodomise him for purposes of ascertaining whether he was a homosexual or not.

The applicants assert that the general environment and administration system in Kitalya Prison created an environment that enabled prison warders and other inmates to discriminate, beat and harass them.

Some contend that they were beaten with electric cables before being ordered to strip naked in the presence of other inmates hence the violation of their right to privacy. The deputy government spokesperson.

Col. Shaban Bantariza told URN that the applicants are taking advantage of the prevailing rule of law but hastened to add that they have done the right thing to petition court.