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Ugandan Award-Winning Writer Released on Conditional Bail


FILE - This video grab from an AFPTV video taken on Jan. 21, 2022 in Kampala shows Kakwenza Rukirabashaija appearing in court via a video link from prison on charges of 'offensive communication.'

Ugandan authorities have released author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija on bail, a month after his arrest for insulting the president’s son, but on the condition that he and his supporters not speak to the media. His lawyer has alleged he was tortured in custody.

Ugandan writer Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was today given bail after a month in detention.

Speaking to VOA, his lawyer Eron Kiiza described Kakwenza’s health condition as frail saying, he is a torture victim.

His bail conditions include a ban on all parties and lawyers not discussing the matter in the media.

He is charged with two counts of offensive communication against the person of the President Yoweri Museveni and his son Lt. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is seen in an undated photo posted to his Twitter Dec. 25, 2021. (Twitter/@KakwenzaRukira)
Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is seen in an undated photo posted to his Twitter Dec. 25, 2021. (Twitter/@KakwenzaRukira)


Kakwenza was arrested December 30 after he tweeted calling Museveni’s son, “obese, drunk, bad-tempered, and a rotting corpse of a future president.”

Kainerugaba is seen as a possible successor to his long-ruling father in Uganda’s 2026 election.

Kakwenza’s detention was marked by his detention in an unknown location allegedly by the military and later reports emerged of him being tortured before he was transferred to a maximum-security prison facility.

In a tweet, Uganda’s leader of opposition Mathias Mpuuga says when he went to visit Kakwenza in prison, he had healing scars and other marks of torture covered his body as he slightly limped into the room.

He further shared details on the nature of abuse saying that Kakwenza’s fingernails had patches of blood caused by injuries during the torture. Kakwenza reportedly told Mpuuga that soldiers used a pair of pliers to pluck his fingernails and other body parts before being made to dance nonstop throughout the night and day as soldiers insulted and beat him.

This was the third time the award-winning writer was arrested, the first in April 2020 for his novel, the Greedy Barbarian, a fictional writing of high-level corruption.

His second arrest was in September 2020 for his second novel detailing torture titled, Banana Republic, where writing is treasonous.

He won the PEN Pinter Prize International Writer of Courage award in 2021.

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