Washington, DC – Robert Kyagulanyi, an independent Ugandan Member of Parliament best known as Bobi Wine, will speak at the National Press Club on Thursday, September 6, to address his current condition after suffering torture and abuse at the hands of Ugandan security officers after his August 14th arrest and the treason charges which followed.
Examining the case with Bobi will be his international lawyer Robert Amsterdam.
Already a widely known Afropop celebrity in Uganda, the 36-year-old Bobi Wine was elected as an independent Member of Parliament for Kyadondo East in 2017. As an outspoken critic of President Yoweri Museveni, Bobi has captivated the nation’s youth, many of whom have felt excluded and alienated by Uganda’s political establishment.
His popularity has allowed the opposition to capture numerous seats, including most recently in Arua by-election with the victory of Kassiano Wadri, who defeated a candidate backed by President Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
However immediately following this election, violent clashes broke out. Protesters were accused of throwing stones at the president’s motorcade, while later officers from the Special Forces Command (SFC), the secret service, attacked opposition supporters and arrested at least 33 people. That evening, Bobi’s driver Yasin Kawuma was shot and killed by state security officers. The former pop star was then arrested the next morning on a trumped-up gun charge, which would later be dropped before he was re-arrested for treason.
While detained by SFC and police, Bobi Wine says he was subjected to extreme abuse and torture. According to his own account, “they beat me, punched me, and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared. They hit my eyes, mouth and nose. They hit my elbows and my knees.” By the end of this abuse, Bobi was unable to stand on his own power, with significant injuries for which he is being treated by US doctors.
Though he was eventually released on bail and allowed to travel for medical treatment, Bobi Wine still faces a treason charge that carries the death penalty. His attorney Robert Amsterdam has called for greater international pressure to protect human rights in Uganda, and specifically to single out the officials responsible for alleged abuses under the Global Magnitsky Act legislation.