EBISIYAGA MUKOMELA ELUZIRA : Male Mabirizi abatwala mukooti

Controversial Ugandan lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has revealed that he has so far filed multiple lawsuits against the leadership of Uganda Prisons Service for alleged torture and prisons of inmates. Mabirizi claims the Prisons Services has been mismanaged by its leadership, leading to the said abuse as well as in-mate to in-mate crimes including homosexuality.

In cases filed at the Kampala High Court, Nakawa Magistrates Court, and the East African Court of Justice, Mabiziri says he is suing Prison authorities in their individual capacity.

These include Johnson Byabashaija, the Commissioner General of Uganda Prisons Services, and two others; Brian Mbazira and Kenneth Simon Lubanga, whom he accuses of “human rights infringements at Luzira Upper Prison” where he was held.

Mabirizi made the revelation Saturday afternoon, hours after being released from Luzira Prison where he was sent in February last year on charges of contempt of court.

In a lengthy statement he read out upon his release, Mabirizi said he was suing the Prison Authorities over what termed as “torture, inhuman, cruel and degrading actions” carried out by Prison warders against prisoners.

These, he said, often “beat prisoners while pouring water on them and put them in water-filled holding cells while naked.” Overcrowding at Luzira and other Prisons around the county, the lawyer says, had worsened the situation. As of January this year, he noted, the prison population was at 74,444 yet the prisons have a capacity of only 20,036.

“Prisons are now torture and servitude centers; no one can accommodate citizens between 4 pm when prisons are locked and 6 am when they are open, in poorly designed and ventilated structures constructed during colonial days, with over 400% excess capacity,” he said.

“Luzira Maximum Security Prison Upper where I have been was designed for only 600 prisoners but now racks up about 3200. People are sleeping in toilets many are not sleeping at all in night.” Mabirizi also claims that the Prisoners are poorly fed and that sanitation is very poor.

“Uganda Prison doesn’t provide basic sanitary toilet papers to prisoners claiming that water in enough to clean them. They are given a razorblade and half a bar of soap every three months,” he added.


The lawyer also alleges that overcrowding and lack of conjugal rights have bred cases of homosexuality in the prisons and an elevated risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases such as HIV/AIDS among inmates.

“People are held for decades without conjugal rights and no hope of ever sleeping with women again, so they resort to young men who are vulnerable in terms of feeding and other necessities,” he said.

In the year he was jailed at Luzira, Mabirizi says he witnessed two cases of sodomy, involving persons serving long-term sentences and young inmates.

“In my last month in prison, a 23-year-old man on remand was found being sodomized in one of the classrooms by a convict serving life imprisonment for robbery and rape,” Mabirizi alleged.

“Both admitted to the incident with the remanded saying he had no support yet the convict had offered him a liter of cooking oil. The convict who had been there since 2010 reasoned that he had spent a long time and that he had been living with HIV since 2007”

Another incident, he says, happened early last year where another prisoner was also caught in a room with a young inmate, and the two were saved by guards from being lynched by fellow inmates.

“My issue with Uganda Prisons is that they consider homosexually as an internal matter yet in our penal code the maximum penalty is life imprisonment,” he said.,

Uganda Prisons declined to respond to Mr. Mabirizi’s claims when contacted. The UPS Spokesman Frank Baine said he would not legitimize the allegations and advised Mabirizi to seek legal redress if he so wished.

“I am not going to waste time responding to him; if someone is milking a dog and you hold it, you are both dog milkers,” Baine said.


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