Exile Won’t Save You! Court Issues Arrest Warrant Against Novelist Kakwenza

Exile Won’t Save You! Court Issues Arrest Warrant Against Novelist Kakwenza

By Spy Uganda

Chief Magistrates Court at Buganda Road  on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for an international award-winning author who fled to Germany last month to seek treatment for injuries he said were inflicted on him during torture by security personnel, his lawyer said.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was arrested at the end of December and held for almost a month before he was charged with communications offences related to tweets that criticised President Yoweri Museveni and his son.

“It is true the court has issued an arrest warrant for him,” his lawyer Eron Kiiza said.

“It’s just a continuation of his harassment because the court could have chosen to try him in his absentia, which is allowed, but they decided to ignore that option.”

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After his release in January Rukirabashaija said he had been tortured by security personnel while in detention. Images of his body showed torture marks, which provoked public outrage.

He told media that he was punched in the stomach, kicked, hit with gun butts and made to dance endlessly and that his torturers used pliers to tear pieces of flesh from parts of his body.

On Feb. 9 he announced he had fled the country, eventually arriving in Germany where he said he would seek treatment.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday asked the government to close illegal detention centres in a report documenting the prevalence of torture at such sites, a claim denied by the military as “baseless”.

“We do not condone torture as alleged in the report,” Ugandan military spokesman Brigadier-General Felix Kulayigye told AFP, adding they had “investigated and taken action against our own officers implicated in human rights violations.”

The report came on the heels of another court decision Monday ordering the release on bail of author and activist Norman Tumuhimbise and a female journalist, who were charged with cyber-stalking Museveni.

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