Barbie Kyagulanyi, the wife of incarcerated Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, has said he nearly died as a result of torture in military detention and expressed dismay that he is still alive. Barbie, who together with lawyers and members of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, was on Friday afternoon allowed access to Makindye military prisons where Bobi Wine is detained, said he is in pain.
“… after many days, I was able to see my husband with my own eyes. I am first of all thankful to God that he is still alive! Let’s continue to pray for him. Bobi is in pain. Bobi is hurting EVERYWHERE. We nearly lost him! He wonders how he is still alive after such treatment,” she said in a statement released on social media.
Ms Kyagulanyi also said her husband cannot stand on his own.
“He has a swollen face- very deformed. At first sight, it is very unlikely that you would recognize him. You may not understand this unless if you see him. His forehead is bruised and his eyes are red. He has many wounds including one on his ear. He seems to have been punched many times on the face. He cannot walk,” she added.
She added that he was carried into the room where they met him and that he cannot sit straight.
“He speaks with difficulty and has a lot of pain breathing. He has great pain in the left side ribs and hip. He bled a lot through the ears and through the nose. Blood stains are still visible! He is in such a terrible state and in need of urgent medical attention. I could not believe that an innocent man can be taken through all this because he has a different political opinion,” Ms Kyagulanyi said.
She added that her husband told her he was not even at the scene where chaos allegedly took place in Arua.
“He was with friends watching news at a restaurant when news came out that his driver had been shot dead. He quickly went into his room as gunshots raged on, and for many hours throughout the night, he kept hearing soldiers banging doors and breaking into rooms of the hotel. Later, the soldiers came to his room and broke into it. They found him standing in the room and the soldiers immediately ordered him to kneel down. Before he could reach the floor, one soldier hit his head with an iron bar and he fell down. They all descended on him, stepping on his head with boots and hitting him everywhere. He became unconscious thereafter and after so many hours, he realized that he was at the Arua airfield on handcuffs. He can’t tell what they might have done to him during that time,” she added.
Ms Kyagulanyi said her husband told the team that after gaining consciousness, he was given many injections and has no idea what they were for.
“He can hardly remember what took place in court yesterday as he was only regaining consciousness. He was later airlifted to Makindye where he is being detained. I have seen many victims of torture- never have I seen anyone in the state which Bobi is in! When he narrates these stories, you see the kind of trauma he is going through. When you set your eyes on him, you cannot help but wonder what kind of human beings can do such things to a fellow human being.”
Nevertheless, she said Bobi Wine is strong at heart.
“His resolve has not diminished. His bones have been broken, but his spirit has not been crushed. He is still the husband I met many years ago. He knows that he is innocent of all that he is being accused of. His only crime is standing for justice and for trying to speak for the common person. He was surprised when we told him that he is accused of possessing firearms- he was hearing about this for the first time. Instead, the soldiers who arrested him took away his wallet and the money he had on him. He wonders why he is being tried by military courts! But he knows that this is part of the price he has to pay for what he believes in. He asks Ugandans to remain firm, even in the face of such repression.”
She added: “He is deeply hurt by his driver, Yasin Kawuma’s death and very sad that he was not allowed to bury him! We told him about the dire health condition of Hon. Francis Zaake and others, and he sent sympathies.”
“He asked me to be strong for the sake of our children and I promised him that I am strong and I will remain strong. I told him how many people in Uganda and abroad are very concerned about him and he asked me to appreciate you all on his behalf.”
“Our request is that he is urgently allowed to access his doctors so that he gets the much needed medical attention. Especially since he highly suspects that he underwent internal bleeding.”