U.K. Re-Investigates Museveni Guards’ Assault Charges

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[International: Uganda]


London's Metropolitan Police Chief has ordered a review of the investigations of allegations that bodyguards of Uganda's president assaulted a man who interrupted his presentation two years ago, The Black Star News has learned.

Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Ian Blair has instructed a senior officer, Martin Haddon, to re-investigate the assault allegations and review the initial probe itself. The Black Star News has learned that authorities are looking into whether some officers withheld information on the case, including concealing a medical report.

Dr. Rashid Kasaato, a Ugandan citizen residing in the UK, alleges that President Yoweri Museveni's bodyguards manhandled him when he spoke out, while with others in the audience, during the president's presentation at a London gathering on November 19, 2006.

Dr. Kasaato had denounced Museveni, who had been highlighting what he called the country's achievements to diplomats and investors, as a "liar" and a "war criminal" contending that he was carrying out genocide against Uganda's ethnic Acholis in the northern part of the country.

The incident leading to the alleged assault was captured on grainy video, but the Ugandan authorities concealed the footages, it was alleged. 

Dr. Kasaato was subsequently treated by a physician at St. George's Hospital South-London for bruises he sustained on his testicles. He filed assault charges against the Ugandan president and his bodyguards in U.K. courts. He alleges the guards used their hands to squeeze and severely bruise his testicles.

Dr. Kasaato when contacted declined to comment on the case. Uganda's U.K. High Commissioner declined to comment.

The Black Star
has learned that the Police chief, Sir. Blair, in a January 2, 2008 letter instructs Haddon, who is with the National Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) to investigate the case, including the officers who initially handled the alleged assault charges.

According to information obtained by this newspaper, one police officer at the scene of the alleged assault reported not seeing the incident, while another officer reported seeing the guards pouncing on Dr. Kasaato and subsequently dragging him. The investigations will focus on whether some officers withheld information from investigators, including medical reports about Dr. Kasaato's injuries.

Initially, the case was stalled when the British Crime Management Unit made three attempts to get information from Uganda's High Commission to London, but ran into a brick wall.

The case was first investigated by Detective Constable Lucy Kilgour from the Metropolitan Police, but her assignment yielded little. DC Kilgour referred the case to the then supervisor Senior Detective Constable Carol Andrews.

Subsequently, Labor Party Member of Parliament Siobhain McDonagh, wrote to Uganda's High Commissioner Joan K. Rwabyomere about the matter, and also contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth office and Camden Police Service Chief Superintendent Mark Heath.

In a November 2, 2007 letter Dr. Kasaato's lawyers complained about the pace of the investigations to Sir. Blair. The matter "has been forwarded to the department of Professional Standard, a Metropolitan section under New Scotland Yard which passed it to the Head of London Borough of Camden Police Holborn police," an officer close to the investigations, tells The Black Star.

The Directorate of Professional Standards is the British Police department charged with ensuring that all Metropolitan Police officers conduct their work in accordance with ethical code-of conducts.

Dr. Kasaato belongs to one of Uganda's opposition groups, Justice Forum, and is the U.K. spokesperson for G-5, the umbrella group for the country's opposition parties.


Investigative news reporter Miwambo writes for The Black Star News from Europe. He can be contacted at  nosamiw03@hotmail.com with major news stories.

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