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UA 141/91 - Uganda: legal concern / torture: Michael Alip Atepu, Omara Atubo, Irene Apiu Laju, Okodi Levi, Zachary Olum

, Índice: AFR 59/008/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 59/08/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 141/91 Legal Concern/Torture 26 April 1991
UGANDA: Michael Alip Atepu - member of national assembly
Omara Atubo - member of national assembly
Irene Apiu Laju - member of national assembly, (f)
Okodi Levi - member of national assembly
Zachary Olum - member of national assembly
The five members of parliament named above, who represent constituencies in
Kitgum, Gulu and Lira Districts in northern Uganda, are among several hundred
people arrested since 30 March 1991. Omara Atubo, Zachary Olum and Irene Apiu
Laju were arrested in Kampala on 15 April 1991. They are reported to have
been arrested followed a visit to northern Uganda where they complained to
the military authorities about allegations of arbitrary arrests, beatings,
rapes and extrajudicial executions during on-going military counter-insurgency
operations in Gulu, Kitgum, Lira and Apac Districts. They are believed to
have been taken back to Lira, in northern Uganda, where they remain in military
custody without charge or trial.
Michael Alip Atepu and Okodi Levi, who are both from Lira, were arrested
shortly after 30 March 1991 in Lira District. Okodi Levi is reported to be
under house arrest but Michael Alip Atepu is thought to be in military custody.
Neither has been charged or tried. It is reported that complaints they made
about army conduct in the course of arrests and interrogations to locate armed
rebels, which began in late March, led to their arrest.
Amnesty International regards all five as possible prisoners of
conscience, detained without charge or trial while reportedly attempting to
fulfil their role as elected political representatives. It is unclear whether
they were subject to complete immunity from arrest as members of parliament,
but it does not seem that parliament was consulted about whether immunity should
be waived.
Several hundred other people have been detained without charge or trial
during the army operations in Lira and Apac Districts. Many are believed to
have been taken, at least initially, to the army barracks in Lira but it is
thought that some have since been transferred to other places of military
detention.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Uganda Government has been facing armed insurgency in the north and east
of the country since late 1986. There have been mass arrests, which have
frequently led to people being imprisoned without charge or trial for several
years, and many incidents where the army has been responsible for the
extrajudicial execution of prisoners and unarmed civilians. In addition to
the arrests mentioned above, there have been reports of hundreds of detentions
and incidents of extrajudicial execution and soldiers raping prisoners in Gulu
and Kitgum Districts.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the detention without charge or trial of possible
prisoners of conscience Omara Atubo, Zachary Olum, Irene Apiu Laju, Michael
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Alip Atepu and Okodi Levi, who are reported to have been arrested while taking
up the cases of people in their constituencies who were alleged to have been
victims of human rights violations;
- expressing concern that they are held incommunicado in military custody and
urging that they be referred promptly to a judicial authority and that they
be allowed visits by relatives and legal representatives;
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- urging that unless they are to be charged with recognisably criminal offenses
and brought promptly to trial, Omara Atubo, Zachary Olum, Irene Apiu Laju,
Michael Alip Atepu and Okodi Levi and all other detainees be immediately
released.
APPEALS TO:
President Yoweri Museveni
President of the Republic
Office of the President
Parliament Buildings
PO Box 7168
Kampala, Uganda
Telegrams: President Museveni, State House
Entebbe, Uganda
Faxes: 256 41 235462
Telexes: 61048 KAPITAL; 61006 VICTORIA
Mr George Cosmas Adyebo
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
PO Box 341
Kampala, Uganda
Telegrams: Prime Minister Adyebo, Kampala, Uganda
Telexes: 62001
General David Tinyefunza
Minister of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
PO Box 3798
Kampala, Uganda
Telegrams: Defence Minister Tinyefunza, Kampala, Uganda
Telexes: 61023
COPIES TO:
Prof George Kanyeihamba
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Ministry of Justice
PO Box 7183
Kampala, Uganda
and to diplomatic representatives of Uganda in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 7 June 1991.

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