Uganda: Failure to implement court order to investigate responsibility of counter- terrorism force for death in custody

On 10 June, the NGO Human Rights Watch requested the Ugandan Government to enforce a High Court order appointing a coroner to investigate the death of Saidi Lutaaya, who was held by the Joint Anti-terrorism Task Force (JATT) in Kololo, a suburb of Kampala.

The High Court ordered the investigation on 10 February 2010, but the order has yet to be executed.

“The Ugandan government should respect the High Court order and promptly conduct a formal inquiry into Saidi Lutaaya’s death,” said Rona Peligal, acting Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “This case is an important opportunity for the government to show a commitment to ending abuse by security forces.”

Human Rights Watch in its 2009 report, “Open Secret,” documented numerous cases of illegal detention, torture, and some extra-judicial killings by Uganda’s Joint Anti-terrorism Task Force. It is not clear why JATT members arrested Lutaaya, who worked in the Old Taxi Park in Kampala as a hawker, on November 23, 2007, on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that once Lutaaya was in custody, Task Force members severely beat him and struck him in the head with a hammer. He fell unconscious, and was taken to Mulago hospital in Kampala, where he was pronounced dead. According to hospital staff, soldiers collected his body.


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