By Spy Uganda
Ugandan Weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko has been released on police bond six days after he was detained on return from Japan where he had disappeared from an Olympic training camp.
Julius Ssekitoleko, 20, vanished from an Olympic training camp after learning he did not meet standards to compete in the Games, making headlines around the world as Japanese officials scrambled to locate him.
He was found and flown home to Uganda where government officials said he would undergo counselling. But instead he was taken into police custody.
After he went missing, a note was found in Ssekitoleko’s hotel room in which he said he wanted to work in Japan and asked that his belongings be sent to his family in Uganda.
The Union of Uganda Sports Federations and Associations condemned Ssekitoleko’s ongoing detention and called for his immediate release so he could be reunited with his family.
“He deserves sympathy, not harsh treatment” the head of the union, Moses Muhangi said.
Ssekitoleko’s plight has stirred mixed reactions in Uganda. The government was forced to apologize to Japan over the incident that Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs labelled “unacceptable conduct and treachery”.
But others have been more sympathetic toward the young athlete whose dreams were dashed.
“Ssekitoleko is not a criminal, he is a victim of an economy that works for the few (in the) privileged class,” Ugandan legislator Betty Nambooze said Wednesday.