Rutabana’s whereabouts should be established using diplomatic means – Lawyer

Rutabana’s whereabouts should be established using diplomatic means – Lawyer

Dr David Mushabe, the lawyer representing Mr Benjamine Rutabana, a French citizen who was reportedly arrested in Uganda last year, has said that his whereabouts should be established using diplomatic means between France and Uganda.

This was after Mr Brian Musota, the Principal State Attorney from the Attorney General’s chambers told High Court in Kampala presided over by Justice Esta Nambayo, that he was not able to find Rutabana in custody of any of the Ugandan security agencies.

Mr Musota was responding to a court order issued on February 19, which directed the Attorney General and five others to produce Rutabana dead or alive following an application that had been filed by his lawyers led by Dr Mushabe.

The others are; the Director Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Director Internal Security Organization (ISO), Inspector General of Police (IGP), Director Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Commandant Special Investigations Bureau (SIB).

Mr Musota told court that the various heads of security agencies have never arrested Rutabana and they had done thorough investigations under all the detention facilities in their control and found that he is not known there.

He asked court to close the Rutabana file adding that each party should bear its own costs.

Dr Mushabe also agreed with Musota saying that he was grateful that the security agencies had complied with the court order.

“What we know is that Rutabana landed in Uganda and there is no record of his departure from Uganda since then, and he has never been seen by his family. So if the securities agencies say they don’t have him, then diplomatic means between Uganda and France shall be exhausted to find him. I want to thank security agencies for complying with court orders,” he said.

Background

Mr Rutabana, a French citizen was allegedly arrested in Kampala in September last year by plain clothes men who identified themselves as being operatives from CIM.

It’s alleged that he was taken Mbuya CMI headquarters and taken to ISO, back to CMI and where after his whereabouts are not known.

Following the disappearance of Rutabana, his family wrote to the French embassy in Uganda and to the Foreign Affairs ministry on October 28, 2019 but this did not yield to any positive results of finding him.

They also approached International Relief and Human Rights Initiative (IRHRI) for assistance in tracing for their missing relative.

Following investigations by IRHRI, it was established that Mr Rutabana had flown to Uganda on or about September 8, 2019 on passport number 16DA52086.

IRHRI also established that Rutabana landed at Entebbe International Airport from Belgium, but there is no any other record of him leaving the country and has not been in communication with his family.

It was later learnt that Mr Rutabana had been arrested and held for interrogation to establish the purpose of his visit to Uganda.

A statement signed by Mr Greg Simith Heavens, the president of IRHRI on February 16, showed that the Attorney General had explained to the court about the tireless efforts they had put in to ensure that Mr Rutabana is released to his family.

“On behalf of IRHRRI and on my own behalf, I would like to thank the government of Uganda for observing the rule of law. Rutabana and IRHRRI will be Uganda’s witnesses that it’s not a torturing state,” Mr Greg said.

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