A US-based human rights advocacy organization, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has petitioned the United Nations Human Rights Committee demanding it to look into the case of exiled Ugandan novelist, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.
In February, Kakwenza, who was charged with insulting President Yoweri Museveni and his son, fled the country out of fear for his life.
The novelist was detained several times and in December last year, he was charged with offensive communication in a case that raised international concern, with the European Union among those calling for a comprehensive investigation into rights abuses in Uganda.
In the submitted complaint, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights alleges that Uganda violated Rukirabashaija’s right to freedom of expression by highlighting the connection between the torture he experienced and his expressive activities as an author.
“It states that the arrests, detention, and torture were intended to have both a punitive and deterrent impact on Rukirabashaija and his writing. It further adds that this impact goes beyond Rukirabashaija to have a chilling effect on writers, journalists, and civic space throughout the country,” the complaint reads in part.
The organization has now challenged government to implement safeguards to prevent abuse and torture by state law enforcement against detainees in compliance with international law and to respect freedom of expression and opinion.
“Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights strongly denounces the Ugandan government’s use of torture and their repression of freedom of expression,“ the complaint reads further.