News and Information

Uganda MP's 'state torture' claim
December 7, 2004
By Will Ross
BBC News, Kampala

Ugandan soldiers
Security forces are trained in torture, the Human Rights Commission has said
A Ugandan opposition MP has alleged that one of his staff was tortured by state security services.

Driver Sam Ongyiah, 26, claims he was picked up by armed men and forcefully interrogated about opposition activities.

He has burn marks on his chest and lacerations on his arms which he says are the results of the torture.

Opposition politicians fear increased harassment as Uganda prepares for democratic elections in 2006.

'Making mistakes'

Human rights groups report that torture by state security agencies is common in Uganda but the government maintains it is working to eliminate it.

Mr Ongyiah is the driver of Latigo Morris, a member of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change.

The MP alleges the torture was carried out by members of Uganda's state security organs.

Mr Morris has previously claimed he was among a group of politicians recently beaten by military personnel.

The Ugandan government denies that state-sanctioned torture exists.

Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda said the allegation will be thoroughly investigated.

But he adds that he would be amazed if the report of torture were true.

Mr Rugunda admitted it was possible that individuals in state organisations were "making mistakes" and said all cases of alleged torture were investigated.

The government-appointed human rights commission said it received reports of torture by state security organs every week.

It has called on the government to take more action to prevent torture.


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