News / Africa

HRW: Kenyan Activists in Danger of Torture in Uganda

Michael Onyiego

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on Ugandan authorities to release Kenyan lawyer Mbugua Mureithi and activist Al-Amin Kimathi or allow them a fair trial. The two have been detained since September 15, when they were arrested on arrival in Uganda.

The pair traveled to Kampala to observe the arraignment of terror suspects accused of carrying out attacks in the Ugandan capital. A total of 34 have been arrested in connection with twin blasts during July's World Cup Final which left 76 dead. While al-Qaida-linked Somali group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attacks, authorities have also arrested Kenyan, Ugandan and Tanzanian suspects.

Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, a Ugandan lawyer representing some of the suspects, reported the Mureithi and Kimathi missing after they failed to appear at the September 16 hearing. Ugandan police have confirmed the two were being held by the Rapid Response Unit, a division which Human Rights Watch Researcher Ben Rawlence says is notorious for rights violations.

"We are familiar with the Rapid Response Unit over a period of time," said Rawlence.  "They do not have a very good record. They have a very broad, undefined mandate and there have been a number of cases where suspects have been detained, beaten and tortured in a place called Kireka, which is an ungazetted detention facility. It is kind of like a 'black site' where they can do anything they like. We have previously documented multiple cases of torture and mistreatment of suspects at Kireka and at least two suspects have died while in the custody of agents affiliated with the Rapid Response Unit."

According to Human Rights Watch, the two are currently being held at the facility in Kireka, a neighborhood in Kampala, but their condition was unknown. They have not been given access to counsel and Rawlence told VOA Human Rights Watch was concerned for their welfare.

In 2009, Ugandan journalist Kalundi Sserumaga was beaten and detained in Kireka for making critical remarks about Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on a political talk show. According to Human Rights Watch, at least two people have been beaten to death by members of the Rapid Response Unit. The suspects were detained for alleged thefts and Ugandan authorities say their deaths are under investigation.

Mureithi and Kimathi, were in Uganda to provide counsel to a number of Kenyan citizens being charged by the Uganda authorities for the July attack. Both have been critical of the extradition process used to bring the Kenyan suspects to stand trial in Uganda. The two have argued the removal was tantamount to kidnapping, citing the lack of arrest warrants or court orders required under Kenyan law for extradition.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid