Uganda urged to probe 'torture'


July 27, 2006

Uganda must investigate allegations that a security detainee was tortured and killed in a Kampala house, says international group Human Rights Watch.

Abdu Semugenyi, 55, was detained in western Uganda in April, and accused of being associated with a rebel group.

HRW called on Uganda to shut the secret detention centres called "safe houses".

The organisation says it asked the Ugandan government to comment on the circumstances of Mr Semugenyi's death but received no response.

"The anti-terrorist force runs a safe house in an upscale Kampala neighbourhood where they torture suspected rebels and dissidents," HRW's East Africa co-ordinator Jemera Rone said in a statement.

"And in this case, they allegedly killed a man by electrocuting him," Ms Rone added.

"Abdu Semugenyi was not charged with any crime, the authorities denied he was in custody, and now he's dead."

HRW says that others detained with Mr Semugenyi had reported seeing him being tortured, and some claimed to have been tortured too.

One fellow detainee told HRW that Mr Semugenyi, a businessman, was electrocuted to death on 4 May and that he died crying for water.

His body has not been handed over to his family, HRW says.

Mr Semungenyi had reportedly been accused of links with the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group that was active in the 1990s, and which Uganda believes still operates from bases in DR Congo.