Fourteen nations, including the United States, & the European Union delegation to Uganda have called for the immediate release of Human Right’s lawyer Nicholas Opiyo and 3 other activists currently under detention over alleged money laundering-related cases.
Nicholas Opiyo was arrested by plain-clothed security operatives on Tuesday and detained at Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Kireka where he has been held ever since. Police on Wednesday stated that their agents were “deepening investigations” in a case of money laundering and related malicious acts slapped against him.
In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the nations under Partners for Democracy and Governance Group (PDG) including Denmark, Austria, Belgium, France Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, USA, and the European Union (EU) raised concern over the arrests and called for the immediate release of Nicholas Opiyo because he is one of many Ugandans whose professionalism has helped build the country’s international reputation.
The countries majority of whom provide aid to Uganda, said human rights defenders play an important role in their respective countries and therefore should be able to work without fear of arrest or reprisals.
“We strongly emphasize the right of every Ugandan citizen to a due process including swift arraignment and formal notification of charges…as well as orderly access to legal representation, family and health professionals. If no charges are brought, then we call for their immediate release” the statement reads in part.
Nicholas Opio made a name as a strong activist and human rights advocate in Uganda and has gained international recognition as a human rights defender on top of winning several accolades. However, his statements criticizing government especially in media has often put him at loggerheads with authorities.
By Wednesday evening, Opio was still held in police custody pending “analysis of exhibits” investigators retrieved pinning him on cases related to money laundering.