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Tumwine Liable for Frustrating Probe into Safe Houses – Committee

The committee chaired by Buvuma Islands MP Janepher Nantume Egunyu had attempted to investigate the reports that several Ugandans had been illegally incarcerated and tortured in safe houses across the country. The focus was mainly on safe houses in Lwamayuba in Kalangala and Kyengera in Wakiso district, against which several complaints had been lodged.
Elly Tumwine

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The Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights wants Security Minister General Elly Tumwine held liable for frustrating investigations into the reported torture of Ugandans in safe houses.

The committee chaired by Buvuma Islands MP Janepher Nantume Egunyu had attempted to investigate the reports that several Ugandans had been illegally incarcerated and tortured in safe houses across the country. The focus was mainly on safe houses in Lwamayuba in Kalangala and Kyengera in Wakiso district, against which several complaints had been lodged. 

But this afternoon Egunyu told the house that they were unable to verify the allegations made by the victims and relatives of missing persons and persons tortured given that members were denied access to the safe houses during their on-spot visits.  The committee was blocked from accessing sites in Kabowa, Nalukolongo and Nakasero.  

Nantume recommended that Tumwine should be held accountable for frustrating the work of the committee by denying the committee access to the safe houses and blocking its interaction with the Heads of Security Agencies. 

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The committee now wants the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to follow up all the findings that have been established especially visits the alleged safe houses in Uganda and furnish Parliament with a report within three months.  

“All agencies involved or mentioned for alleged torture should be subject to further investigation and feedback be made to Parliament. The merits and validity of the claims made by alleged torture victims should be further investigated with an aim for compensation and the perpetrators should be punished,” reads the committee report.  

On their interaction with the Police, the committee noted that suspects were still detained beyond the mandatory 48 hours, and arrested and released irregularly. 

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She also calls for the activities of security agencies to be coordinated and that they should respect each other's roles.  

The committee observed in its report that much as safe houses are operated by the Internal Security Organization (ISO), there are reports of illegal detention centres under other agencies and some gazetted detention centres where suspects are tortured. 

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