4 UPDF Officers Convicted for Torturing Suspect, Dismissed and Jailed

 The soldiers involved in a video where they were seen physically assaulting a suspect accused of motorcycle theft have faced disciplinary action. Corporal Odong Otto Richard Burton, the former Lagot Detach Commander, along with Privates Mungu Acel Sunday, Ogwang Dennis, and Omara Martin Henry, were charged with aggravated torture. After pleading guilty, four of the accused were sentenced to one year in jail and dismissed from the army. In contrast, Private Omara Morris, who pleaded not guilty, was acquitted based on testimony indicating he was not present during the incident.

The court session, held at Lagot Primary School in Pajong Parish, Mucwini Sub-county, Kitgum district, saw Col. Ismail Ssendagira, the chairman of the 5th Division Court Martial, announce the verdict. He granted the convicted soldiers the right to appeal within 14 days to the General Court Martial in Kampala.

This legal action followed an incident captured on camera on December 10th, 2023, where the soldiers tortured Nelson Omon, accusing him of stealing a motorcycle. The video circulated widely on December 12th, sparking public outrage. In response, the UPDF swiftly apprehended all suspects, who will serve their jail term at Lira Government Prison.

Two additional suspects, Christopher Ongee, the Mucwini sub-county Chairperson, and Simon Obonyo, the GISO Mucwini Sub County, currently held at Kitgum Central Police Station, will face trial at Kitgum Magistrate’s Court.

The criminalization of torture is stipulated in the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act of 2012 (PPTA). The Act prescribes penalties, with sentences for torture ranging up to 15 years imprisonment and life imprisonment for aggravated torture. According to the law, torture involves intentionally inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on a person for purposes such as obtaining information, punishing an act, or intimidating or coercing the person or others.

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