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US concerned over Bobi Wine's condition

Wednesday August 22 2018

Bobi Wine

Ugandan musician and opposition lawmaker Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, who was arrested on August 14, 2018 after an incident in which security officers shot his driver dead. PHOTO | FILE 

KEVIN J. KELLEY
By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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The US State Department voiced concern on Tuesday over “multiple credible reports” on the medical condition of Ugandan MP Robert Kyagulanyi, who performs under the name of Bobi Wine.

The comment in response to a Nation query appears to contradict assurances by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a long-time US ally. Mr Museveni earlier derided as “fake news” reports that Mr Wine had been tortured by police.

DETAINED

“We are watching the situation very closely with regards to MP Kyagulanyi,” a State Department official wrote in an email on Tuesday. “We have received multiple credible reports about his condition that are cause for concern.”

Medard Segona, a lawyer representing the detained singer and opposition leader, has said: “He is in great pain. He can’t talk, he can’t walk, he sits with a lot of difficulty, his face is swollen and cannot see because of the torture.”

The US statement on Tuesday did not focus solely on Mr Wine, instead expressing alarm over the Ugandan security forces’ response to protests against President Museveni who has been in power for 32 years.

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“We are alarmed by recent incidences of disproportionate use of force by security personnel, as well as widespread reports that security forces have severely beaten and even tortured Members of Parliament, journalists, and others recently detained,” the State Department official said.

“We urge the government of Uganda to show the world that it listens to the voices of its people, and abides by its own laws.”

The US embassy in Kampala said last week that all detainees should be given access to lawyers and to doctors of their choice.