Enduring torture in Obote’s Uganda

“This was on Monday, May 17. My fellow journalist Chuck Powers, our hired driver and I were about to endure a living nightmare. In the next 48 hours we would be whipped, threatened with death and, even worse, with the most horrifying of tortures — in a place where torture and death and sudden disappearance are an everyday affair.”

Robert Rosenthal, May 1982, Philadelphia Inquirer

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In 1982, Uganda was ruled by Milton Obote, almost as notorious as his feared predecessor Idi Amin for his terrible record of human rights violations. In May of that year, the regime’s tender mercies were directed towards two American journalists – Powers of the LA Times and Robert Rosenthal of the Philadelphia Inquirer – and their hired driver. Their experience of torture at the hands of Obote’s soldiers in Bombo army barracks outside Kampala was vividly recorded by Rosenthal. His article “Inside a Ugandan Prison, a Nightmare Comes to Life” appeared in the Inquirer on May 23, 1982.

The article is valuable for its portrait of Powers by a colleague. It is available in full at the Byliner.com website.

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