US Sanctions Uganda Prisons Commissioner Byabashaija Over Alleged Torture

US Sanctions Uganda Prisons Commissioner Byabashaija Over Alleged Torture

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: The United States Department of the Treasury has sanctioned the Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons service, Johnson Byabashaija over human rights abuse against prisoners held within facilities.

According to a statement issued on a December 8 2023, the US treasury revealed that since 2005 when Byabashaija was appointed as the commissioner general for Uganda Prisons, members of the Uganda Prisons Service have engaged in torture and other serious human rights abuse against prisoners held within prison facilities.

”During that period, members of the UPS have engaged in torture and other serious human rights abuse against prisoners held within UPS facilities. Prisoners have reported being tortured and beaten by UPS staff and by fellow prisoners at the direction of UPS staff. Members of vulnerable groups, including government critics and members of Uganda’s LGBTQI+ community, have been beaten and held without access to legal counsel; for example, in a 2020 case, the UPS denied a group of LGBTQI+ persons access to their lawyers and members of the group reportedly endured physical abuse, including a forced anal examination and scalding” reads part of the statement.

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”Byabashaija is being designated for being a foreign person who is or has been a leader or official of an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to the leader’s or official’s tenure pursuant to E.O. 13818” the statement added.

Byabashaija is part of 20 other people sanctioned by the same office for their connection to human rights abuse in nine countries.

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“Furthermore, the Department of State likewise designated individuals in Russia, Indonesia, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for visa restrictions pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Annual Appropriations Act. These actions are taken in concert with measures imposed by partners in the United Kingdom and Canada, which have similarly utilized economic measures to deter human rights abuse globally. We stand with our partners in upholding international ideals,” the statement adds.

According to the US treasury, more sanctions have been issued to 20 individuals for their connection to human rights abuse in nine countries plus two more individuals who were sanctioned under the Department of State’s counterterrorism authority

“Furthermore, the Department of State likewise designated individuals in Russia, Indonesia, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for visa restrictions pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Annual Appropriations Act. These actions are taken in concert with measures imposed by partners in the United Kingdom and Canada, which have similarly utilized economic measures to deter human rights abuse globally. We stand with our partners in upholding international ideals,” the statement further noted

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The sanctions come shortly after the Department of State announced visa restrictions on Ugandans especially government officials allegedly behind the human rights violations.

It’s worth noting that the Ugandan government has been at loggerheads with the US government since May this this year when parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality law with tough penalties for the offenders.

The U.S. government condemned the looming law then and said that it was assessing the implications for activities in Uganda under its flagship HIV/AIDS programme, but all this didn’t threaten Ugandan unshakable leaders.

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