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Uganda police officer suspended over Turinawe 'sexual abuse'

A Ugandan police officer has been suspended over the alleged sexual assault of opposition activist Ingrid Turinawe as she was being arrested on Friday.

uganda strip protest 2012 04 23Enlarge
A group of Ugandan women stripped to their bras to protest the alleged sexual assault by police of Ingrid Turinawe, a female opposition politician who was arrested at a rally. (FARZANA WAHIDY/AFP/Getty Images)

A Ugandan police officer has been suspended over the alleged sexual assault of prominent opposition politician Ingrid Turinawe, the authorities said Tuesday.

Ugandan TV footage shows a police officer squeezing Turinawe's breast as she was being arrested at a rally near Kampala on Friday. She is heard crying out in pain.

“One officer has been suspended pending further investigation,” Internal Affairs Minister James Baba said, according to the BBC.

He did not clarify whether the police officer in question was male or female.

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Turinawe heads the women's league for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). In an interview published Monday in the Daily Monitor, she called the episode “sexual terrorism”

"I was tortured at the hands of those goons in that van but there is no turning back," she said.

Her treatment sparked outrage, and on Monday six Ugandan women were arrested after stripping at a police station in central Kampala to protest against the alleged assault.

They were later released without charge, according to the Agence France Presse.

Baba said: “"The incident occurred during the arrest of a female who was suspected of committing a number of traffic violations and who failed to comply with the lawful instruction of a police officer."

"It is alleged that this lady suffered an assault as she resisted arrest," he added.

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Uganda’s opposition has complained of frequent harassment under President Yoweri Museveni, who was controversially re-elected in 2011.

Turinawe is one of six opposition members charged in an ongoing case with plotting to overthrow the government, according to the Los Angeles Times.

She is also linked to an activist group that has protested against rising food and fuel prices. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120424/uganda-police-officer-suspended-over-turinawe-sexual-abuse