Man sues Uganda’s deputy speaker Anita Among over alleged torture

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Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among

Kampala, Uganda | URN | A real estate broker has sued the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, seeking to be compensated for the alleged torture inflicted on him reportedly by her agents.

In the application filed before the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala, the broker identified as Francis Matovu commonly known as Butto, is suing Among jointly with the Attorney General seeking a declaration that his detention for a period exceeding 48 hours without trial was in contravention of his rights under the constitution.

The court records show that on November 9th 2021, Matovu was arrested by policemen dressed in police uniform around Speke Road in Kampala, and later whisked off to Mbuya Military Barracks in a police pick-up double cabin.

Through his lawyers of Sanywa, Wabwire and Company Advocates, Matovu further contends that he was forcefully grabbed, assaulted and checked by the policemen who had arrested him and they later took his money totaling to 27,000 dollars, which he had obtained that very day after selling his Land cruiser vehicle registration number UAZ 188F to Faruq Kibirige.

Matovu further adds that he spent three days at Mbuya Military Barracks where he was reportedly detained in a safe house which is a non-gazetted detention center where he was also tortured.

“That during my detention at Mbuya Military Barracks, I would occasionally be tied in the face and taken to Kireka special investigations unit for further interrogation by police detectives under the orders of the first respondent/Among. The said interrogation would take long with a view of depriving me of sleep,” reads the application in part.

According to the court records, Matovu further alleges that during the time he was in detention, he was not allowed to speak to anyone including his lawyers and next of kin and his tormentors who were dressed in army uniform kept asking him why he was defaming the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

They reportedly interrogated him about a dossier that circulated on social media alleging that Among is corrupt having allegedly been involved in a number of corruption scandals but he denied knowledge of the same.

“While in Mbuya Military Barracks, I was beaten with a wire rod and sticks on my stomach, chest, legs and back, soaked in extremely cold water for a very long time, hanged with a rope tied to the ceiling while my hands were held together by handcuffs which caused severe wounds on my hands,” says the complainant. “I was slapped on my ears which has affected my hearing to date, my nose was pricked with a stick which has caused a permanent scar on my nose and I was kept in solitary confinement.”

On November 12th 2021, at Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court, Matovu was charged together with three others on charges of offensive communication stemming from their alleged involvement in reports on social media accusing Among of corruption and influence peddling.

Matovu was subsequently remanded to Kitalya together with his co-accused namely; the head of Mobilization for National Unity Platform (NUP) party in Eastern Uganda, Moses Bigirwa, and journalists Pidson Kareire and Moses Mugalula.

He was granted bail by the Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu on November 19, 2021. But Matovu says he has since had hearing impairments due to torture inflicted on him and he could barely walk five days after his release from the military barracks.

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As such, the evidence before the court indicates that Matovu has since suffered a lot of trauma, physical and mental anguish for which he is seeking 500 million shillings in compensation for the violation of his right to liberty, freedom from torture among others from the respondents.

The Deputy Speaker and the Attorney General who are the only respondents in this matter are yet to be summoned by the Civil Division Registrar to file their defense in the matter before the case is allocated to the Judge and fixed for hearing.

This is not the first time Matovu is falling out with security.

In 2014, Matovu was arrested twice in the same year allegedly by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and taken to court on charges related to his links to the then exiled Former Coordinator of Intelligence Services General David Sejusa.