Kampala, Uganda | URN | The body of Emmanuel Magezi, a Rwandan national who had reportedly been in military custody for ten months before his death at Butabika Hospital was buried in Kampala City Cemetery, this publication has learnt.
According to records at the City Mortuary, Magezi was buried on January 23, 2020, three days after his body went unclaimed.
Magezi was reportedly arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence in March 2019 together with another Rwandan National, Theogen Sendegeya. For more than 10 months, their whereabouts were unknown, as family and relatives couldn’t locate them in all gazetted detention facilities.
It later emerged that the duo was arrested from Mbarara and detained at Makenke Military Barracks before they were transferred to the CMI Headquarters in Kampala. A document signed by Lt General Joseph Musanyufu, the Joint Chief of Staff of the UPDF indicated the duo was arrested by a joint security operation on suspicion of involvement in actions prejudicial to national security.
Their lawyers filed an application on January 30, 2020, against the Government of Uganda, the Director of CMI and the Chief of Defense Forces demanding for their production and showing cause why their client’s constitutional right to liberty had been infringed on.
On February 10, High Court Judge Esther Nambayo ordered that Magezi and Sendegeya be produced in Court, dead or alive within seven days. But a week later, State Attorney Brian Musota told the court that the two were not anywhere in their detention facilities because they had been taken to Butabika Hospital for treatment.
Dr Apio Irene Wengi, a Psychiatrist at Butabika Hospital confirmed that Magezi was admitted on August 23, 2019, for a psychotic mental disorder. However, by the time the letter was written, Magezi was still undergoing inpatient care.
But Musota added that one of the two arrested had escaped from Butabika Hospital and his whereabouts are unknown to the state. On the same day, documents presented by the government before the court indicated that Magezi had died on January 21, 2020, from Butabika Hospital.
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A post mortem report made by Dr Richard Ambayo of City Mortuary indicates that Magezi died of cerebral infarction, a condition that results from a blockage in the arteries supplying blood and oxygen to the brain.
Kampala Lawyer Eron Kiiza says that Magezi’s family in Kigali is waiting to receive the remains. Kiiza notes that the family through him contacted Rwanda’s High Commission in Uganda to follow up the matter and see how they can get back the remains.
However, the family needs an order of Inquest from the court allowing them to exhume the body for any purposes, as the procedure stands, for all bodies buried in public cemeteries.