The High court in Kampala has ordered government to pay Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Shs75m as damages for having been maliciously arrested at Central Police Station (CPS) stairs and prosecuted as he protested against the then Kiboko squad in 2007.
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The arrest of Mr Lukwago happened while he was the Kampala Central Member of Parliament.
He was arrested along with Aruu County MP Odonga Otto while attempting to hold an assembly at the Constitutional Square to protest the then mysterious Kiboko Squad that was mercilessly beating up Kampala residents.
Following the foiled rally at city square, they were arrested and charged before Buganda Road Court for disobeying orders of a female traffic police officer though they were later acquitted for lack of evidence. Mr Otto had been separately charged for allegedly assaulting the then DPC Mr Emmanuel Muhairwe, during the time of his arrest.
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But in his ruling, Justice Yasin Nyanzi noted that Mr Lukwago’s arrest and subsequent charges on a traffic offence over a vehicle that he neither owned nor was driving, was unlawful and left a lot to be desired from police which preferred the charges. Justice Nyanzi also observed that the pulling and pushing of the two leaders was ‘degrading’ enough to reduce them to common ‘criminals’.
Also in his verdict, Justice Nyanzi noted that the Shs75m award will attract an interest from today [the date of judgment] till payment in full. The judge also ordered the government to meet Mr Lukwago’s legal fees that he used to successfully pursue this suit that he filed in about six years.
Reacting to the court ruling, a jolly Lukwago said: “the award of Shs75m in both general and punitive damages is reasonable.”
He added: “ I applaud the trial judge for the well-reasoned and fair judgment. I am glad that justice has finally prevailed and I hope it will act as deterrence against further acts of torture, harassment inhumane and degrading treatment by the police and other security agencies.”
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