Renowned fugitive book author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has sued government before the East African Court of Justice over the alleged torture meted against him while being held incommunicado late last year.
In his case that his lawyers filed on his behalf, Mr Kakwenza contends that on December 28, 2021, about 12 members of the Special Forces Command (SFC) and eight plain-clothed security personnel, armed with sledge hummers and guns, besieged his Kampala home.
“The SFC-dominated gang violently broke the burglar proof of his house’s window, forced their way into his house without a search or arrest warrant. They immediately pounced on the applicant (Kakwenza) and started punching him in the stomach and hitting him with their gun butts in his ribs and back,” the court document reads in part.
It adds: “The applicant established while in illegal, torturous and incommunicado detention and later kidnap from Kitalya prison to Makindye military prison that the son of President Museveni, a special operations and Commander of the [Uganda People’s Defence Forces – UPDF] Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, allegedly ordered, supervised and masterminded his torture ordeal.”
Further in his court documents, Mr Kakwenza claims to have met the First Son three times in furtherance of his alleged torturous scheme.
Also in his court documents, the award-winning novelist claims his captors blindfolded him with a thick black bag and strings pulled and knotted around his neck.
“They neither identified themselves nor gave the reason of his arrest. His violent, warrantless arrest, witnessed by his gateman and members in the neighbourhood, was illegal and contrary to Articles 24, 44 and 23 of the Constitution of Uganda, Article 5 of the African Banjul Charter on Human Rights & People’s Rights, and Articles 6,7 and 8 of the Treaty,” the court documents further read.
Through his lawyers of Kiiza & Mugisha Advocates, Mr Kakwenza wants the regional court to declare that his incommunicado detention by the military offended the rule of law, good governance, transparency, accountability and democratic principles of the East African Treaty.
He also wants the regional court to discontinue his criminal trial before Buganda Road Court, and also have him compensated for the alleged torture that was meted out to him by soldiers while being held incommunicado.
Mr Kakwenza is accused of using social media to making abusive, derogatory and belittling tweets against Lt Gen Muhoozi and President Museveni. He is to that effect, facing two charges of offensive communication contrary to the Computer Misuse Act.
Shortly after his release on bail last month, the satirical novelist fled the country through Rwanda without a passport since the travel document is in the custody of court.
PEN Deutschland, which is currently hosting him, announced last week that Mr Kakwenza had arrived in Germany, where he had gone to receive specialised treatment for his wounds and also receive his accolade for his critical writing.
By press time, government had not yet been summoned to file its defence to the allegations raised by Mr Kakwenza.