Court has awarded opposition figure Kizza Besigye Shs10m in damages for illegal and wrongful arrest by police officers who grabbed him from a Kenya Airways plane at Entebbe Airport in 2016.
“H/Court Judge Ssekaana Musa, today, ruled in a case filed Oct 2016 Vs CAA & @PoliceUg. Judge found that Police violated my Rights &awarded damages of Shs 10m +costs of case. Also said “preventive arrest” was justified- this we’ll appeal!” Besigye tweeted on Friday.
High Court Civil Division Judge Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that the former president of the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) was humiliated by police.
During the brutal arrest, Besigye was grabbed from the stairs of an aeroplane on October 3, 2016 on return from Geneva.
Through his lawyers Rwakafuuzi & Company Advocates, Besigye sued Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for conniving with police that drove him from Entebbe Airport to his home in Kasangati, Wakiso District.
Justice Ssekaana said the police ought to have arrested Besigye in a dignified manner especially at the airport which is the gateway for tourists and foreigners coming into and going out of the country.
“Such crude manner of arrest paints an ugly picture to the country and could also have economic consequences,” the judge noted.
He said the police knew well in advance that they were to effect arrest of the plaintiff on arrival.
“They should have presented written reasons for his arrest at the airport. This would have avoided the denial made by the plaintiff of the reasons for his arrest,” said the judge.
He thus awarded Besigye Shs10m instead of the Shs300m he had asked for.
The judge said although Besigye was embarrassed, people who had gathered to join his procession would have paralysed economic activities along Entebbe Road.
According to the judge, the risk and danger of arresting Besigye from a big gathering would have raised tensions in the crowd and increased the amount of violence and clashes with the police.
He was basing this on history of the 2011 incident when the same Highway was blocked by the supporters of the plaintiff upon his return was justified in effecting his preventive arrest.
The judge also conquered with police that Besigye would have violated the Public Order Management Act [POMA] because he didn’t notify authorities and seek permission for a possible procession.