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w.l. shoemaker

W.L.

W.L. (born 1971) is an Ugandan citizen who was allegedly victimed by the Ugandan government in the 1990s and early 2000s. His case came to light when he was about to be re-patriated to his country by the United Kingdom, and writer Caroline Moorehead wrote his story. W.L. was a nickname given to him, his real name was withheld for security reasons. W.L. was a farmer in Uganda.

W.L. speaks of mental and physical abuse in his article. According to his account, in 1991, his father was beaten to death by soldiers, and his eleven year old sister taken and raped. After this incident, he bought a truck to sell his farm's produce. However, the Ugandan government kept on pestering him.

W.L. admittedly became involved in an opposition party after the 1996 general elections. He was kidnapped by soldiers and taken to Kampala in February 2001. At Kampala, he was thrown to the floor and beaten. Government officials tried to force him into signing a confession of rebel activity, but he refused, being shot as a result. Later, they put a plastic bag over his head, making him faint.

Thinking he was dead, soldiers took W.L. into a pit. When he woke up the next day, he was surrounded by dead bodies. He was once again taken in front of a government official who persuaded him to sign the confession by saying that he would get treatment for his wound if he signed it. W.L. signed the confession, and was stabbed on his wound by a bayonet. Allegedly, he was told this is the treatment you will get.

A few days after, he was to be transferred to another jail. While on the ride that would have taken him there, he was informed that the Ugandan ARMY had a new leader who wanted to let him go free. He was let go free and with some money to make it back to his hometown. Fearful, he crawled his way to a road, where he found a bus driver who took him to his town.

W.L. returned to his farm and began to work on his business once again, having recovered from his wounds well enough to perform that task. But on July 15, according to his own account, soldiers arrived at his house, beat him up, dragged him, and held him on the floor. Then, two soldiers proceeded to rape his wife in front of him, his mother and his children. Taken back to Kampala, he was also raped by the soldiers.

W.L. had an Indian friend who was a businessman with connections. The man went to W.L.s town and found out that one local politician was enraged by W.L.s activism and had ordered him to be killed. So the Indian man sold W.L.s belongings, and he used the money gained to bribe officials into writing W.L. off as a dead person and letting him go. W.L. left prison while disguised as a disabled man, and he arrived at Kenya. He went to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, where he boarded an airplane without knowing where exactly he was being flown to. The plane's destination turned out to be Heathrow Airport in London. W.L.s Indian friend, meanwhile, returned to Uganda, where he looked for W.L.s family. He did not found them, and W.L. does not know what happened to his mother, wife and children.

Later on, the United Kingdom announced they would repatriate W.L., this despite the protests of some writers and locals.

(note: this biography is based on one individual's accounts of his ordeal, and the facts depicted here may or may not be %100 percent accurate)

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