The Ugandan politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as pop star Bobi Wine, has detailed for the first time the beatings he says he received from security officers after his arrest last month.
In a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, Kyagulanyi wrote that he wanted to “set the record straight”.
The popular 36-year-old musician, who entered Uganda’s parliament as an independent MP in 2017, was arrested last month and charged with treason after some of his supporters allegedly stoned President Yoweri Museveni’s car.
“They beat me, punched me and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared,” he said from the US where he is seeking medical treatment for injuries he says were sustained during his arrest and detention.
“They wrapped me in a thick piece of cloth and bundled me into a vehicle,” he wrote of his arrest in the north-western town of Arua. “Those guys did to me unspeakable things in that vehicle! They pulled my manhood and squeezed my testicles while punching me with objects I didn’t see,” Kyagulanyi said, adding the officers stole his wallet and phone before knocking him unconscious.
Kyagulanyi, who was charged with treason last week and released on bail, was re-arrested while trying to leave the country to seek medical treatment. He was subsequently allowed to depart.
The young MP has become a lightning rod for opposition to the long rule of the country’s 74-year-old president who critics say is out of touch with a youthful population.
His case has drawn international attention with scores of musicians, activists and politicians signing an open letter condemning his treatment by the government.
Monday’s 3,500-word Facebook post was Kyagulanyi’s first public statement since his arrest. “I was shocked on how they tried to downplay the atrocities committed by security agencies on innocent citizens,” he said.