‘Tortured’ Ugandan novelist Kakwenza flees into exile, says lawyer

'Tortured' Ugandan novelist Kakwenza flees into exile, says lawyer
Ugandan novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija displays scars on his back that he claims were inflicted while he was tortured for weeks in detention, at a house in Kampala, Uganda on Feb. 8, 2022

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Ugandan award-winning satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has fled the country, his lawyer Samuel Wanda has confirmed.

Close sources to the writer told this publication that Kakwenza fled the country on Wednesday 9, February 2022 reportedly through the Rwanda border.

His lawyer Samuel Wanda has indicated that Kakwenza will fly from Kigali International Airport to another African country where he will spend three days and then fly to Europe.

Wanda says that Kakewenza fled to seek treatment abroad after he failed to get his passport back.

Kakwenza was arrested on December 28, 2021, from his home in Kisaasi, a Kampala suburb, and held incommunicado until January 11, 2022, when he was produced in court on two cases of offensive communication.

Court orders for unconditional release of Ugandan author Kakwenza

According to the Prosecutors, Kakwenza used his Twitter handle @KakwenzaRukira to post a series of tweets about President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son Lt General Muhoozi Kainerugaba with no purpose of legitimate communication.

In one of the tweets, Kakwenza refers to the President as an election thief and in another, he calls Muhoozi overweight and intellectually bankrupt.

The prosecutors argue that the communication was willfully and repeatedly used to disturb the peace of the President. He denied the charges.

He was later granted a cash bail of 500,000 Shillings. On Monday 7, the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court rejected Kakwenza’s request to have his passport returned to enable him to attend an event in Germany where he was to be recognized as an Honorary Member of Pen International.

Read Also: DPP denies state abused and tortured novelist Kakwenza in detention

Court presided over by the Chief Magistrate Dr. Douglas Singiza said that the award which Kakwenza wanted to go and pick from Germany as the reason to get back his passport can be presented to him online.

After his release, Kakwenza said that he was tortured by state operatives who injected him with substances in his feet and hands six times every six hours, being denied sleep, and made to dance with a jerrican full of water.

On Monday 7, the European Union (EU) Delegation in Uganda called for a comprehensive investigation into the persistent torture cases and other human rights violations in the country.