Bobi Wine, now in the United States after being held in detention by the Ugandan state, is getting a chance to recount his distressing story to American media outlets. “No part of my body was spared,” he told the Washington Post yesterday, referring to the bruises, scars, and lingering ailments caused during his arrest and barbaric beating by the Ugandan state.
“They beat me with an iron bar, they tied both my hands and legs with handcuffs, they squeezed my private parts, they injected me with things I don’t know,” he said. I cannot even walk without the help of crutches.
He is waiting for test results from American doctors before he announces a diagnosis.
Wine was initially blocked from flying to the United States. He said security forces intervened at the airport last week, dragging him “brutally into a police ambulance.”
He said he was beaten “in front of a medical doctor, and I was driven at a breakneck speed to a government hospital.” Wine was then locked in a room before he was eventually cleared to fly, he said, at which point he left for Boston, where he sought medical assistance before traveling to Washington. He already had a U.S. visa at the time of his departure from Uganda, and in an email, a State Department spokesperson said “the United States had no role in his decision to travel to the United States.”
Gen. Elly Tumwine, Uganda’s security minister, told The Post in a phone call Wednesday that Wine and others “fought with the ones who arrested them, and that’s what caused their ailments.” Tumwine said he thinks Ugandan soldiers prevented the situation from escalating further and that “the medical examination found there wasn’t much.”
“Torture is if someone is tortured after arrest. But in the process of arrest, if you resist arrest, you know what we do to people,” Tumwine said. “The matter is being investigated, and we shall find out what happened, and that is a matter for the court.”
Wine insisted that “it is characteristic of Ugandan security forces to torture Ugandans and deny or outrightly lie about it.”
“Whoever had given them orders, the orders were clear: to brutalize me,” he said. “Many times I’m convinced that the orders were to kill me.”