Uganda: Top Female Opposition Member Arrested, Stripped Naked by Museveni’s Police
A top female opposition member was stripped naked by police on Saturday, during a violent arrest in Western Uganda.
The police were reportedly acting under orders of President Yoweri Museveni, as they intercepted members of the Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) National Executive Committee.
Opposition member, Zaina Fatuma, was publicly violated and stripped naked in Saturday’s arrest. The police intercepted a group of FDC opposition members, who were travelling to Rukungiri to attend a party function.
The convoy was stopped by police roadblocks and numerous members were arrested, with police using brute force to detain party members. However, it was the arrest of Zaina Fatuma that garnered the most attention after she was stripped naked by police and images of her ordeal spread across social media.
Human rights groups and Ugandan opposition parties quickly condemned the public show of police brutality. Shortly after the incident, police reportedly confiscated cameras from witnesses and journalists, in an attempt to prevent public outcry.
Many of the arrested party members were only released after the intervention of foreign diplomats who have been monitoring the shaky political situation in Museveni’s Uganda.
Concern has been raised over the president’s oppression against critics, as the 2016 presidential election draws nearer. Rights activist, Robert Sempala, expressed his fears about the rise of police brutality against opposition views and media figures, to publication DW, in March.
“We have seen armed men – more especially the police – target journalists and it seems as if this is condoned by the leadership in the police because those that are at fault are not investigated, no punitive measures are taken,” he said.
“The pattern of events in Uganda shows that the media is not free, that the spaces are being closed down through administrative sanctions and legislation, threats and intimidation.”