As friends express growing concern about the whereabouts of a dissident Ugandan blogger living in Turkey who they haven’t heard from in more than a month, an opposition lawmaker has submitted an inquiry to the Turkish Parliament questioning his fate, the Duvar news website reported on Thursday.
Fred Lumbuye, known for his critical posts about Ugandan President Yoweveri Museveni, has been living in Turkey since 2013. Ugandan Foreign Minister Okello Oryem had said on TV that there were 15 charges against Lumbuye, including spreading propaganda, inciting violence and aggressive communications.
Unable to contact him for a month, his friends are concerned about his safety.
In his parliamentary question lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) asked if Lumbuye is being kept in detention in Turkey and if it’s based on an INTERPOL Red Notice.
Lumbuye was reportedly taken into custody on August 4. A group of Ugandan lawyers had said in a press release that there had been no news from Lumbuye since his detention, claiming that the Ugandan had been deported.
His friends Melissa and Umar said they are worried about Lumbuye since they haven’t heard from him for a month and a half.
“We talked to Fred on the phone in August. He was at his home in Aksaray. ‘Someone is calling,’ he said and hung up,” they said, describing their last conversation with him.
Melissa and Umar said that they later heard he was being held in the Ugandan Embassy in Ankara, adding that he would be executed if he is extradited to Uganda.
In his parliamentary question, Gergerlioğlu if Lumbuye will be extradited to Uganda, where his life will be in danger.
Nkunyingi Muawada, a Ugandan opposition lawmaker, announced on social media on Aug. 31 that Turkish Ambassador in Kampala Fikret Kerem Alp confirmed that Lumbuye is in Turkey.
“He is not in prison, but in a refugee center,” Muawada said.
Although Lumbuye is reportedly being held in a refugee removal center because his Turkish visa has expired, Melissa and Umar are still concerned he may be deported at any moment.
Gergerlioğlu asked if Lumbuye will be extradited to Uganda in his parliamentary question.
Muawada recently said he was able to locate Lumbuye in Turkey, that he is being kept at the Kocaeli Removal Center and is “alive and quite well though bored being in one place,” the Chimpreports.com news website reported on Thursday.
Muawada added that he will be kept in the center for six months.