Uganda: Land rights defender charged with setting fire to crops, released on bond

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Witness Radio | 17 March 2021

Land rights defender charged with setting fire to crops, released on bond

Kiryandongo – Uganda – Following the intense pressure from the defender’s lawyers and family members, Kiryandongo district police has released the land rights defender Atyaluk David Richard who was abducted by the three armed soldiers guarding Kiryandongo Sugar Limited’s sugarcane plantation on bond.
 
He was charged with setting fire to crops and granted a non-cash bail together with his sureties.
 
Atyaluk David Richard was on Friday, the 12th March 2021 at 8:00 am local time was abducted from his home a gunpoint by armed soldiers guarding Kiryandongo Sugar Limited’s sugarcane plantations.
 
According to Atyaluk, upon the abduction, he was taken to a military detach at Kamusenene village where he was severely beaten and flogged by Uganda People Defense Forces soldiers.
 
“ After the beating on the same day of the abduction, a police pick-up double cabin car registration number UP 7684 with 8 police officers commanded by the Kiryandongo district police commander, SP Odonga Tonny picked me from the military camp at 3:00 pm local time to the central police station, Kiryandongo where I have been detained until today” Said Atyaluk after being released on a police bond.
 
Atyaluk’s arrest is linked to a fire that destroyed acres of sugarcane plantation owned by Kiryandongo Sugar Limited during the previous weekend.
 
He’s among dozens of community land rights and environmental defenders in Kiryandongo who have been slapped with tramped up charges and currently are under trial because of their human rights work that resists illegal evictions by multinational companies.
 
The multinational companies namely; Kiryandongo Sugar Limited, Agilis Partners Limited, and Great Seasons SMC Limited together with their agents in the Kiryandongo district continue to orchestrate violence against the community, intimidation, destroying food crops, and plantations for natives, and demolish houses to weaken their resolve to pushback landgrabs.
 
The defender is set to report to his bond on 19th March 2021.
Original source: Witness Radio
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