High Court steps in to order Security to produce Kakwenza ‘dead or alive’

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NEWS– The High Court sitting in Kampala and presided over by Justice Musa Ssekaana  has ordered the Commander of Special Forces Brig Gen Peter Candia, the Director of Criminal Investigations Directorate Grace Akullo, the Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola, and the Attorney General to produce writer Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.

While issuing the order on Monday, Justice Ssekaana directed that the security produced Kakwenza Rukirabashaija in court tomorrow Wednesday January 12th 2022, and show cause why he has been detained for two weeks without being charged. 

The order to produce Kakwenza Rukirabashaija in court follows a successful application by his wife Eva Basima through her lawyers led by Eron Kiiza who told the court that their client has been in unknown detention and held incommunicado which is a violation of his rights.

Ms Basima claims that ever since Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was arrested on December 28th,  she has not been given an opportunity to talk to her husband which is a total violation of his constitutional rights. 

High Court has also heard that the Makindye Grade One Magistrates Court had ordered the Attorney General to unconditionally release Kakwenza but the government didn’t comply and therefore, it was in the interest of justice that an order for his production whether dead or alive be issued.

The government was represented by State Attorneys Ms Christine Kaahwa and Richard Adrole who told the court that they previously had to verify the Makindye Magistrates Court order since it was issued in their absence and they later found that the order was authentic.

Now in respect to yesterday proceedings before Justice Ssekaana, they needed more time to respond to the matter on grounds that they have written to those who were sued and are yet to get their respective responses.

Kakwenza’s lawyer Eron Kiiza said that he is now hopeful that since this is an order from the High Court, the security agencies that are believed to be holding Kakwenza Rukirabashaija in communicado are going to comply with it.
 Kakwenza’s wife Basima petitioned Court last week demanding the restoration of her husband’s right to liberty saying that he had been in unknown detention without being arraigned in court within 48 hours as mandated by law.

According to the Police CID spokesman Charles Twine, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has been in custody on offensive communication charges since December 28th 2021, when he was arrested by armed security personnel from his home in Kisasi, Kampala City.

According to lawyer Eron Kizza, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was later last week taken to his upcountry home in Iganga District for a search by Police detectives and returned to unknown custody and on Tuesday last week. Makindye Grade One Magistrate Irene Nambatya issued an order for his unconditional release, but the government failed to comply with it.

Efforts by the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Uganda Law Society, East African Law Society, European Union, and Individuals human rights activists and law students among others to demand Kakwenza’s constitutional freedoms have been futile and sources in security agencies intimate that Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is still in custody as they gather more evidence to pin him on charges related to offensive communication.

In October 2021, Kakwenza was awarded as the winner of International Writer of Courage at the PEN Pinter Prize function and this Annual Award is normally presented to a person who has been persecuted for showing courage to speak out about their beliefs.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has so far written books like “the Greedy Barbarian” which talks about a dictator who stays in power for 43 years and another titled “the Banana Republic” which narrates about his life in the custody of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence where he was taken twice in 2020 and was reportedly tortured.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has since sued the government seeking compensation for infringement of his rights after he was illegally detained in 2020 where he was reportedly tortured and kept incommunicado, but his case is yet to be determined by the High Court.