The speaker of Parliament Hon. Anita Among has been cleared of torture charges by Justice Musa Sekana as he dismissed a case against her filled by city businessman, Francis Matovu.
Hon Among and the co-accused, that is to say; the Uganda Police Force and the UPDF were this week vindicated after Justice Sekana established that prosecution failed to prove that Matovu’s arrest violated his fundamental rights and freedoms.
‘’I find that the applicant has not proved that there was a violation of his fundamental rights and freedoms by the respondents. Therefore, the application is dismissed and the orders sought are denied. The costs are awarded to the 1st respondent,’’ Sekana ordered.
Worse still for the businessman, in the court ruling dated July 27, justice Sekana order him ordered him to pay costs to the speaker.
Mr. Matovu ran to court after his arrest in November last year seeking redress on allegations of breaches of his freedoms, theft of his money, and detention out of a prescribed period of 48 hours.
He was arrested alongside NUP mobiliser Moses Bigirwa, for allegedly defaming the then deputy speaker in a series of social media publications which pointed to alleged corruption.
This ruling attracted an angry response from the prosecution side and Matovu’s lawyer of Sanywa Wbawire and Co. Advocates swore to appeal against the ruling in a notice to the registrar of the High Court.
‘’On the 27th July 2022, Justice Sekana delivered a ruling against our client. Our client is dissatisfied and is desirious of appealing,’’ noted Matovu’s lawyer.
Also in his ruling, Sekana said Among had simply lodged a complaint with the police and had no personal or official capacity to determine how the investigations, arrests or detaining of the offenders would be done.
‘’ It would be an injustice to hold her personally liable for the actions of the Police CID,’’ Sekana ruled.
Sekana said that Matovu should have showed that Among was actively instrumental to his detention and or violation of his rights.
‘’Any citizen who reports a commission of an offence like in the present case cannot be added as a party to violations which may have occurred. A party will only be liable where he deliberately, falsely, maliciously and vindictively sets the machinery in motion for breach of the person’s rights without any justification or basis. The court should be able to interrogate the circumstances surrounding any case of alleged violation of rights.’’Sekana ruled.
He accused Matovu and his lawyer intent to make his case ‘look big’ and flowery and extend his publicity stunts on social media against Among.
‘’The applicant has failed to show a cause of action against the respondent or any violations.”
However, the justice contended that the military were culpable for torture, and still in his ruling, he said that a person who infringes or breaches the constitutional rights of another person has the onus to justify such breaches.
He also said that the applicant failed to prove on the balance of probabilities that his right to personal liberty under Article 23 of the Constitution was violated.
Matovu had also told court that a total of US$ 27,000 he had obtained from the sale of his personal car a Toyota Landcruiser Reg No. UAZ 188F to Kibirige Farouq was stolen by officers.
He further alleged that Police at CPS Kampala refused to register his complaint about the theft of his money by officers, which prompted the him to lodge a complaint to the commandant professional standards unit Uganda Police Force.
‘’ It is proved that the applicant sold his vehicle to Kibirige but no proof he had the money from the sale at the time of the arrest. There is also no evidence implicating the arresting officers in the theft of the said monies,’’ Sekana ruled.
It should be noted that in his application, Matovu alleged he was beaten with a wire rod and sticks on his stomach, chest, legs, and back, while being soaked in extremely cold water for a long time-and tied with a rope on his hands which was attached to the ceiling which caused severe wounds on his hands and chest.
In contrast, Justice Sekana noted that pictures of scars on the body presented as evidence by the complainant were not in tandem with the medical report.
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