Uganda accuses US parents of trafficking children in torture case

Uganda’s prosecutors on Tuesday charged a US couple with child trafficking and refused bail, a week after they were accused of torturing their foster son.

The couple, both 32, were taken into custody last week for “constantly” torturing their 10-year-old son between 2020 and 2022.

They pleaded not guilty after being charged with “serious torture” last week and were taken to Luzira Prison, a maximum-security facility on the outskirts of the capital Kampala.

On Tuesday, prosecutors added another child trafficking charge against the couple.

Chief Justice Sarah Tusiime denied the couple bail, ruling that a child trafficking case could only be heard by a higher court.

Police said last week when they searched the couple’s home they found video footage showing the child being forced to squat in an “awkward position”, only being served cold food and sleeping on a “wooden platform with no mattress or bedding.” had to .”

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The couple’s lawyer dismissed the case as a “fishing expedition” by the authorities, claiming they had no evidence.

“The last time we were in court the state said the investigation was closed and today they added a new charge and said the investigation is ongoing,” she told AFP.

“It makes no sense.”

The boy, who attended a school for special needs children in Kampala, was one of the couple’s three foster children.

The duo arrived in the East African country in 2017 to do volunteer work at a US-based nonprofit in the city of Jinja before relocating to Naguru, an upscale Kampala suburb, to work in a start-up.

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International adoptions have sparked controversy in Uganda. In 2020, the US government filed criminal charges and imposed economic sanctions on a US-based adoption ring that placed non-orphaned Ugandan children with families in the United States.

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