Aug 9, 2022

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Uganda court orders novelist held over Museveni son remarks freed

A Kampala court ordered the release of a celebrated Ugandan writer who was arrested and allegedly tortured after making unflattering comments about President Yoweri Museveni’s powerful son.

The satirical writer and outspoken government critic Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, 33, was arrested at his home in the capital last week.

He will accused Musevenis. abusing son Muhoozi Kainerugaba – a powerful general who many Ugandans believe will succeed his 77-year-old father – by calling him “obese” and “curmudgeon” on social media posts.

Magistrate Irene Nambatya decided that Rukirabahaija should be released “unconditionally” and said: “Every police officer should obey the above order”.

‘Offensive communication’

The author should appear in a separate court to claim” offensive communication “but not turned up, his lawyer Eron Kiiza told AFP .

Kiiza said he was denied access to his client and he was tortured while in custody.

< p class = "align - justify"> “The police fear showing him evidence of torture, so they are reluctant to take him to court,” he said.

Charles Twiine, spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said Rukirabashaija will be charged with a criminal offense under the Computer Abuse Act that can last up to a year in prison.

On the day of his arrest, December 28th, the author wrote on his Facebook page:” Men with guns are breaking open my door. They say they are police officers but are not in uniform. “

Repeated arrests

The author received recognition for his 2020 satirical novel “The Greedy Barbarian”, which describes high-level corruption in a fictional country.

He was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize for a International Writer of. Awarded Courage awarded annually to a writer who is persecuted for speaking out about his or her beliefs.

Rukirabashaija has been around since the publication of “The Greedy Barbarian “repeatedly arrested. He said he was tortured when interrogated by military intelligence about his work.

At the time he was accused of against the Covid-19 -Breaking rules on social distancing, inciting violence and promoting sectarianism.

He described his imprisonment in his latest book, Banana Republic: Where Writing is Treas. as “inhuman and degrading”. onous .

Once hailed as a reformist, Museveni has ruled Uganda since he came to power in 1986 when he helped end the years of tyranny under Idi Amin and Milton Obote. to end.

Sweeping disagreements

But the former rebel leader has since taken action against disagreements and changed the constitution around himself to allow again and again to vote in elections.

The East African country has experienced a series of raids against opponents of Museveni’s rule, journalists attacked, lawyers imprisoned and election observers prosecuted and opposition leaders forcibly silenced.

Last month the United States announced sanctions against Uganda’s military intelligence chief Major General Abel Kandiho, citing his commitment to serious human rights abuses, including Beatings, sexual assault and electric shock.

Shortly two days after the sanctions, t Two other members of the Ugandan armed forces were released Sentenced to long prison terms for their involvement in the violence against demonstrators in 2020, in which more than 50 people died.