High Court has ordered Commissioner of Police Herman Owomugisha to pay Assistant Superintendent of Police, Steven Mugarura Shs10m for torturing and detaining him unlawfully.
Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that CP Owomugisha must also pay for the violation of ASP Mugarura’s personal liberty with an interest of 15 percent from 23rd July the date of the ruling.
According to the application by Mugarura (Applicant), CP Owomugisha (Respondent) breached his constitutional duty to protect the applicant, a public officer while he was discharging his lawful public duty of investing criminal matters, as OC/CID Kabarole Police Station, and instead obstructed his duties, contrary to article 173 of the Constitution.
The court states that the applicant’s freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment was violated by officers of the Uganda Police who wantonly beat up him while at Central Police Station Kampala contrary to Articles 24 and 44 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
According to the affidavit of the applicant dated 29th November 2017, in 2012, as he was serving as the OC CID of Kabarole Police Station, he encountered a notorious criminal gang that was robbing people’s properties across Uganda upon which he started off an operation to have it investigated and brought before the law.
In the execution of his duties, Mugarura faced direct obstruction and confrontation from senior police officers who connived with the said criminals in further obstruction of his duties. High-ranking officers from the Uganda Police framed several charges against the Applicant and carried out unlawful arrests and detentions, maliciously prosecuted him.
The applicant was also physically and mentally tortured and deliberately denied work and refused to re-deploy him despite being cleared by the authorities, all contrary to Articles 20, 23, 24, 44 and 173 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
In August 2014, Mugarura received a phone call requiring him to report at the flying squad Headquarters and record a statement regarding a criminal gang and on reaching there, he was immediately handcuffed and wantonly beaten by the commandant of the flying squad then, one CP Herman Owomugisha, his head was banged on chairs and wall causing him to sustain grave injuries. He was detained at Jinja Road Police Station for three days and was released on Police bond.
Again while on his way to attend the burial of the late AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesa in Lwengo District, he was brutally arrested by men dressed in ordinary clothes and whisked off in a private car, escorted by a police car, detained at Kira Road Police Station in a small, dark, smelly room where he spent 3 days without food or water and his relatives were denied access to him. He was then transferred to another detention at Railway Police Station for 3 more days without any formal accusation.
According to medical reports, Mugarura while held in incommunicado, sustained grievous harm, blunt chest trauma and a fractured tooth and suffered from scalp, neck and chest pain.
He was later released and transferred from the criminal investigation department to the Field Force Unit of which he refused to report. He was then arrested for misconduct and for the fact that he was wanted by the Police Standard Unit. He was tried and found guilty by the lower disciplinary court of Police and the Appellate Court was then discharged from the Uganda Police Forces.
A matter that forced him to file a case against the respondent and the Attorney General seeking the court to direct the Director Human Resource and Administration of Uganda Police to immediately to re-deploy him. An order for general damages/ compensation against the defendant for the aforesaid violation of fundamental rights of the applicant, also an order directing the defendant to pay the applicant punitive damages for the high-handed actions of police officers.
In his ruling which he delivered on 23th this month, Justice Ssekaana said “Freedom from torture is one of the most universally recognized human rights. Torture is considered so barbaric and incompatible with a civilized society that it cannot be tolerated. Torturers are seen as the ‘enemy of mankind.”
He later ruled that since the respondents did not challenge any of the arrests stated by the applicant in the various police stations for the stated days in each cell. “I would award the applicant 10,000,000/= as damages for the violation of his personal liberty with an interest of 15 percent from the date of this ruling. The applicant is awarded the costs of the case. I so order.”
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