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Falana writes UN group, demands release of Bobi Wine

Human rights activist, Femi Falana has forwarded a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN-WGAD), demanding that the continued house arrest of Bobi Wine be declared unconstitutional.

Recall that Bobi Wine whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has raised the alarm consistently over harassment by security agencies since he decided to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in the election.

He was presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in the January 14 election which Museveni was declared winner.

According to results released by the electoral body, Museveni polled 5.85 million votes to defeat Wine who secured 3.48 million.

Wine, however, rejected the election results, saying he had evidence of widespread voting fraud.

In a petition filed on his behalf, Falana said Wine and his wife are being illegally held incommunicado without adequate provision for food and are being denied access to their lawyers.

He alleged that Wine and his family were being intimidated by the Ugandan government because of “Wine’s social activism and challenge to the incumbent president at the polls”.

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Falana argued that Wine’s continued detention constitute an arbitrary deprivation of his liberty under category I and III as set forth by the UN-WGAD, an affiliate body of the global organisation

“The Government of the Republic of Uganda is arbitrarily depriving activist, musician, Journalist, and politician, Bobi Wine of his liberty and continue to arbitrarily put him and his wife, Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi under house arrest, detained incommunicado and without access to the outside world including his lawyers,” the petition read.

“Mr. Wine and his wife are being illegally detained for days without any criminal charges preferred against him. He has also been denied adequate supply of food by hundreds of Uganda military forces and policemen who have laid siege to his house for the umpteenth time since the election day.

“There is no legal basis for Mr. Wine’s house arrest and continuous detention which has spiralled into several days. It would be recalled that Mr. Wine’s challenger and incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni has been declared winner of the presidential election.

“To date, no evidence of any wrongdoing for the arbitrary and unlawful house arrest, detention, continuous detention and assault of Mr. Wine, his wife and domestic staff has been established. These arbitrary acts are clear breach of Mr. Wine’s rights

“The detention is arbitrary under Category I because it does not have any legal justification. The detention is arbitrary under Category III because the government’s detention of Mr. Wine together with his wife failed to meet minimum international standards of due process.”

Falana, therefore, asked the group to demanded the unconditional release of Wine, his family and staff.

He further demanded that the group “send an allegation letter to the Government of Uganda inquiring about the case generally” and raise specific questions “about the legal basis for his arrest, detention, and/or degrading treatment, each of which is in violation of international law”.

“We respectfully request the Working Group to initiate the procedure involving the investigation of individual cases toward reaching an opinion declaring the detention of Mr Wine, together with his wife and domestic staff to be arbitrary and in violation of international human rights law,” Falana wrote

“I am therefore seeking an opinion from the Working Group finding the house arrest and continuing detention of Mr. Wine and his wife to be arbitrary and in violation of Uganda’s Constitution of 1995 (as amended) and obligations under international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Uganda is a state party.”

Among other demands in the petition is that Wine and his family be allowed access to a medical doctor, and be compensated by the Ugandan government.

He also asked that the Ugandan government immediately withdraw all the military officials laying siege to Wine’s premises.

[irp]

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