Ugandan novelist, activist and PEN prize winner who was named International Writer of Courage last year, Kakwenze Rukirabashaija, has been detained illegally and tortured.
His lawyer disclosed that this was going on because he was accused of criticising the president, Yoweri Museveni, and his son.
It was reported that gun men came to the writers house on the 28th of December after a series of tweets about the president Yoweri Museveni. One tweet had even called the president a thief and his son and presumed successor ‘an incompetent pig-headed curmudgeon’.
Rukirabashaija’s last tweet states that he was under house arrest and that men were entering his premises by force. After this, he has not been able to contact his lawyer since and no charges have been brought forward.
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The Guardian reported on Monday the police took him with them to search the family’s country home and his wife was horrified to see her husband weak, injured, limping and wearing bloodstained underwear.
She added that there were visible wounds on his feet, others on his buttocks and he looked emaciated.
His lawyer Kiiza Eron demanded that he be released as Ugandan laws stipulate the police can only detain people for 48 hours without charge and has obtained a release for Kakwenze Rukirabashaija’s release. Authorities have chosen to ignore the release request.
“Police have admitted to holding him, but they are not willing to allow us access… he has been incommunicado apart from the day of the search,” Eron said – The Guardian.
The activist is supposed to be taken to court by Tuesday to face charges of ‘offensive communications’ and there have been no further comments from the government.
He remains in jail without charge despite growing international pressure for his release.