Members of Parliament on the Human Rights Committee, have called for the unconditional release of the political prisoners at Kitalya Maximum Prison.
The legislators led by the Committee Vice Chairperson Agnes Taaka visited Kitalya Prison on Friday and were received by David Nsalasata, on behalf of the Commissioner General.
According to Taaka, they were able to speak Nubian Buken Ali, a close ally of the National Unity Platform president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, who spoke on behalf of the political prisoners.
“We spoke to him and he told us the conditions they are going through, he told us how they have been denied a right to bail,” Taaka said.
Taaka said that they inspected the sick bay, where they found three NUP supporters who claimed that they have not yet healed from the pain inflicted upon them during their arrest in Kalangala last year.
MP Kawempe North, Latif Ssebagala said some of the prisoners they met need to get private medical attention immediately so that in case something bad happens to them, Kitalya Prisons is not to blame.
Ssebagala also said that they inspected the dining area, and they found out that the food they feed the prisoners on is of poor quality and often half cooked before they serve it to them, which could be making the prisoners sick.
“We met some who are really not in a good health condition, they told us that most of their colleagues are coughing which means that congestion is a lot. The treatment here can not be enough, they should be allowed to get private treatment,” Ssebagala said.
Nsalasata, who is the Dır. Production and Engineering at the Uganda Prisons, who spoke on behalf on the Prisons boss said that they are trying their best to feed the prisoners on the budget they have. He added that they will work on the recommendations of the committee. He, however, denied claims that most of the detainees were sick and in pain, saying that for most of them, it is just Malaria.
“We can surely do better and we have taken note of the observations you’ve made and may be we need to change a few things,” Nsalasata said.
Taaka now wants government to release all political prisoners unconditionally so that they can get access to better health care.
“Most of these people were arrested because of politics, politics is now done. We are going to go back and make a report very quickly, so that some of these people can be released. Some of them were even arrested for petty petty reasons,” Taaka said.
Kitalya Prisons came under scrutiny after most of the opposition supporters who were arrested in recent elections were detained there. Since then, there have been claims that many of them have been tortured while in detention and fed on half cooked food.
Last week, Speaker Kadaga instructed the Human Rights Committee to investigate the claims following the release of Kawempe North MP-elect Mohammed Ssegirinya from Kitalya. Ssegirinya was immediately checked into hospital after his release.