The United Kingdom has imposed sanctions on the former Ugandan police chief, Edward Kale Kayihura, for his alleged role in gross human rights violations when he was at the helm of the Uganda Police Force.
General Kayihura was the Inspector General of Police in Uganda from 2005 to 2018.
“While Kayihura was in charge, he oversaw multiple units responsible for human rights violations including torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment,” reads a statement dated December 9, 2022, by UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
“It is our duty to promote free and open societies around the world. Today our sanctions go further to expose those behind the heinous violations of our most fundamental rights…Since gaining new powers following our exit from the EU, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has used targeted sanctions across multiple regimes to hold those committing these egregious acts, whether in Russia, Iran, Myanmar, or elsewhere, to account,” Mr Cleverly said.
Gen Kayihura is among eight individuals under the UK sanctions accused of human rights abuse and corruption.
Mian Abdul Haq, a Pakistani Muslim cleric, was sanctioned over alleged forced conversions and marriages of girls and women from religious minorities, while Sadrach Zelodon Rocha and Yohaira Hernandez Chirino, the mayor and deputy mayor of Matagalpa in Nicaragua are accused of involvement in promoting and supporting grievous violations of human rights.
The UK also sanctioned Andrey Tishenin, a Russian Federal Security Service member in Crimea, and Artur Shambazov, a senior detective in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The pair is accused of torturing Ukrainian Oleksandr Kostenko in 2015.
On the list of sanctions is Valentin Oparin, Major of Justice for the Russian Federation, and Oleg Tkachenko, Head of Public Prosecutions for the Rostov region. They are accused of obstructing complaints of torture, with Tkachenko also using torture to extract testimony.
The UK sanctions come three years after the United States also imposed sanctions on Gen Kayihura for reportedly engaging in corruption and human rights abuses.
The US said the former police chief used corruption and bribery to strengthen his political position, as units under his command committed serious human rights abuses. He is also accused of supervising the torture of prisoners at the Nalufenya Police Special investigations facility in Jinja.
Read: US sanctions Uganda’s ex-police chief Kayihura
Gen Kayihura was fired by President Yoweri Museveni in March 2018 and later arrested and arraigned in the military court on several charges.
Mr Museveni blamed the police for failing to curb rising insecurity in the country, including murders and kidnappings.
During his tenure, Gen Kayihura was accused, primarily by human rights watchdogs, of militarising the police and heavy-handedness in dealing with anti-government protests.
Read: HRW report pins Uganda on torture, killings
Several of his allies, including senior police officers, have been arrested for alleged illegal arrests, kidnap and repatriation of Rwandan refugees.
The police force has also seen a raft of leadership changes since then.
Source: The East African