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Uganda: Court awards police torture victim Shs227m

High court in Kabale has awarded Jaspa Natukunda, a resident of Rukungiri District with Shs270m as compensation for torture by police.

Justice Moses Kawumi Kazibwe ordered the Attorney General to compensate Natukunda in his judgment delivered on Wednesday.

Mr Natukunda sued the Attorney General and Christopher Ruhunde, the former Rukungiri District Police Commander for torture during a peaceful protest over the delayed repair of Mitaano Bridge on September 11, 2012.

In his suit, Natukunda accused police of torturing him during a procession to hand over their petition to the former Rukungiri Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Harriet Nakamya over the sorry state of the bridge.

He also claimed that police dragged him to Rukungiri Police station where they continued torturing him and sprayed pepper on his eyes and.

Natukunda explained that because of the torture he ended up in Nyakibale hospital in Rukungiri Municipality where doctors discovered that he had suffered grave damage and referred him to Nsambya Hospital in Kampala.

A medical report issued by Nsambya Hospital on May 24, 2014 shows that Mr Natukunda suffered multiple blunt trauma in the lumbo-sacral region, blunt chest trauma, limbs trauma and acute urinary retention. He uses a trans- urethral catheterization and suffers post- traumatic disorder, which requires psychiatric attention.

Justice Kazibwe noted that the dispersal of a peaceful demonstration by police was an infringement on the plaintiff’s freedom to assemble and associate with others in execution of their civic responsibilities.

He also ruled that the arrest and detention of the plaintiff was a violation of his rights to liberty guaranteed by article 22 of the constitution.

It’s from this point therefore that he ordered Attorney General to pay Mr Natukunda Shs 270m as compensation for the inhuman and degrading treatment he was subjected to.

He said the money will help the torture victim to get medical attention in case he continues suffering complications in the chest resulting from the torture.

The complainant’s lawyer, Ladislaus Kiiza Rwakafuuzi from Rwakafuzi and Company Advocates welcomed the judgment, saying it will teach security officers especially police to respect the law.

The state attorney, Betty Gafabusa Karungi wasn’t in court during the judgment.

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