Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the police beating of hundreds of opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) supporters in the Ugandan capital Kampala this week.
“Amnesty International is appalled by the deliberate and senseless beating of unarmed opposition supporters, the latest episode in the now all too familiar and systematic pattern of police brutality in Uganda,” Amnesty International regional director for East Africa, the Horn, and the Great Lakes Muthoni Wanyeki said in a statement.
“The beating of people gathering peacefully is cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law, which Uganda must respect. In severe cases it may even amount to torture.
“The relevant authorities must immediately order an independent, impartial, efficient, and transparent investigation into these incidents. Where sufficient, admissible evidence points to responsibility of individuals, including command responsibility, such persons must be prosecuted in fair trials,” he said.
Police inspector general Kale Kayihura was quoted in the Ugandan press as saying the beatings were justified “because when you are beaten, you don’t die”.
Wanyeki said images and videos widely shared online and on social media showed uniformed police officers and other men in plainclothes, some on pickup trucks and others on foot, indiscriminately whipping people using canes and what appeared to be electric cables.
The beatings took place on July 12 and 13 as hundreds of FDC supporters lined the roads to cheer Kizza Besigye – the FDC’s presidential candidate in the February elections – after he was granted bail in his ongoing treason trial.
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