RENE RUTAGUNGIRA TRIAL: Torture details pinned on Lt Gen Tumukunde and Brig Kandiho
Kampala – The bail application hearing for Rene Rutagungira at, took a new twist at the General Military Court martial in Makindye after defendant’s lawyer refused to withdraw parts of his submission that precisely revealed details of how top security chiefs organized his kidnap and torture.
Rutagungira, a Rwandan citizen, was kidnapped by Ugandan security operatives in August this year, and held incommunicado at Mbuya military barracks for months where he was subjected to all sorts of torture before he could be produced to court.
In the December 05 bail hearing Rutagungira’s lawyer Aron Kizza revealed details of how his client was tortured by Security Minister Lt General Henry Tumukunde and the head of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) Brig Gen Abel Kandiho with an intention of putting him under duress so as he could make a confession that would pin the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Kale Kayihura to several kidnaps and disappearance of Rwandans in Uganda.
In a seemingly shocking and legally unparalleled move that intended to protect Tumukunde and Kandiho, the court asked lawyer Kizza to withdraw his submissions on torture but he refused.
Instead, Kizza questioned that, “Who told you that I have no right to talk about torture, and illegal detention of my client in an application for his liberty? Who tells you that some names are too big for me to talk about? When my client tells me that Brig Kankiriho and Gen Tumukunde, tortured and illegally detained him Mbuya military barracks for months so that he can frame the IGP and President Paul Kagame, – under oath – I talk about them because the law allows me, and I have a duty to tell the truth.”
He further pointed out that, “May the day come when ordinary people stop paying the price for their real or perceived association with big people some other big people are fighting.”
This prompted the court to adjourn after failing to stop Kizza from revealing more details of the torture gang led by Gen Tumukunde and Brig Kandiho.
The relations between Rwanda and Uganda have soured since new developments emerged of how Ugandan operatives pick up Rwandans from the streets or buses and take them to safe houses or detention facilities where they are subjected to inhuman torture.
Several Rwandans are currently held in Ugandan prisons – majority of those are locals who were conducting daily cross border businesses.