ULS questions ISO’s arrests, detentions

Uganda Law Society (ULS) has asked government to stop what the lawyers’ body called illegal operations by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO).

In a statement by ULS president Simon Peter Kinobe, the security organisation’s actions are less assuring to the general public and investors.

Kinobe challenged government to denounce ISO’s “illegal acts” of kidnap, illegal
detention and parading of suspects before the press.

Among the actions that Kinobe said is scaring for investors is the recent forceful access by ISO to the MTN data centre at Mutundwe.

“Accessing the MTN data centre with no court order but instead using guns is most unacceptable.” Kinobe noted.

On July 2, ISO operatives kidnapped an MTN staff Moses Musasizi whom they briefly detained at the ISO offices at Nakasero before he was led to the MTN data centre at gunpoint to grant them access to the facility.

Kinobe also criticised ISO’s July 9 parading of suspects to make confessions pinning FDC strongman Dr Kizza Besigye and former Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura in criminality.

“It is of no legal value and it erodes the presumption of innocence,” Kinobe stated.

“Under Section 4(2) of the Security Organisations Act, ISO has no legal mandate to arrest and detain any person. The power to arrest and detain is a preserve of the Police Force and in some instances, the military through CMI, which can arrest and detain people who are subject to Military Law. ISO is neither a department of the Army nor a unit of the police,” Kinobe added.

Since February, ISO has been active in carrying out operations leading to various arrests around the city.

The operations by ISO further strained the already acrimonious relationship between Kayihura and former Security minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde who once served as ISO head.

Kinobe questioned why most of the people that have been arrested by the security outfit are detained in ungazetted detention facilities, and kept in detention beyond 48 hours.

“The fact that ISO seemingly operates above the law, the Constitution and the courts is a deeply worrying trend that needs to be resolved quickly.” Kinobe noted.

“The leadership of ISO should explain why and where it is currently illegally and contemptuously holding the paraded suspects and Mr. Birungi Simpson aka Movit in the face of clear provisions of the law,” he added.

Kinobe asked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to immediately investigate and prosecute ISO’s transgressions of the law or else Uganda Law Society will commence private prosecutions against individuals concerned but not limited to Col. Frank Kaka Bagyenda for abduction with intent to confine contrary to the penal code Act Cap 120 of wrongfully concealing an abducted person.