Wednesday, December 17, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, Journalist asks Court to dismiss defamation charges against him.


Kampala 16 /Dec./2014; Court at City Hall in Kampala has resumed hearing of a case in which a former Daily Monitor Journalist, Timothy Kalyegira Nyakahuuma is charged with defaming the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Through his lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, Kelyegira prayed to court that criminal defamation charges brought against him by the State should be dismissed on grounds that Section 179 of the Penal Code Act under which he is being charged contravenes international standards and best practices of media freedom.
He further argued that according to the recent decision delivered by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which Uganda is party to, found criminal defamation to be contrary to the guarantees on freedom of expression. The trial Magistrate, Moses Nabende advised Rwakafuzi to furnish court with the said decision.
In 2012, Kalyegira filed an application to the High Court raising a question of law as to whether online publication was envisaged under s.179 of the Penal Code Act. In deciding the matter, Justice Lameck Kigozi held that publication online can constitute a commission of an offence under section 179 of the Penal code Act and the case was referred back to the trial magistrate for trial.
Prosecution alleges that on 12th and 16th July, 2010 in Kampala district, with intent to defame the person of the president, Kalyegira unlawfully published defamatory matter on the Uganda Records, an online publication, when he published that government was responsible for the bombs that went off on July/11th killing more than 80 Ugandans at the Ethiopian village in Kabalagala and Rugby Club in Lugogo.

The case was adjourned to 16th January 2015 for mention.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel:
+256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail:
info@hrnjuganda.org / humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk

Saturday, December 13, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, journalist sentenced to jail over criminal trespass at Parliament

Kampala, 13th/December/2014; A City Hall Court in Kampala has sentenced a freelance journalist, William Ntege aka Buganda Kyumakyayesu to two months in prison on charges of criminal trespass and being a common nuisance at the Parliament of Uganda. Ntege had gone to Parliament to petition the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga over police brutality on journalists and other Ugandans.
A Senior Grade one magistrate Elias Kakooza convicted Ntege to jail over criminal trespass, while cautioned him on the second count of common nuisance.

Prosecution led by State Attorney Miriam Njuki told court that on 9th/Dec/2014, at Parliament in Kampala, Ntege did an act not authorized by law when he lawfully entered into the parliamentary building but remained there with an intention to demonstrate and disrupt business within parliament. Police confiscated his audio and visual evidence to police brutality.

She told court that Ntege also chained and padlocked himself on a bar at the fly-over connecting the South wing to Northern wing of the parliament building, and that efforts to ask him to leave failed until the officers sought the services of a technician to cut the chain, leading to his arrest and prosecution.

Ntege is the second journalist to be convicted and sentenced to prison this year, after Ronald Ssembuusi a correspondent with CBS radio was convicted and sentenced to either one year in prison or pay a One million Shillings fine (USD 400) over criminal defamation. Ssembuusi has since appealed his conviction and sentence at the High Court in Masaka.

Ntege has severally been a victim of police brutality while on duty, his video cameras destroyed and confiscated on most of the occasions, yet the perpetrators were never acted upon. He told HRNJ-Uganda at the KCCA Hall Court that he would appeal his conviction and sentence saying he was not fairly tried as he was not directly asked to plead to the charges, which he denies to have committed.

HRNJ-Uganda is dismayed with the hasty way in which Ntege was tried and convicted. We would therefore support him to challenge his conviction and sentence. The police should desist from bringing tramped up charges against journalists and Ugandans who take to peaceful demonstration which is provided for under the Constitution of Uganda” said Robert Ssempala, the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel:
+256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail:
info@hrnjuganda.org / humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk

Monday, November 24, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert; Journalists elect new leadership.


Kampala, 24th/November/2014; journalists under their umbrella body, the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) have elected new leaders of the Executive Board at an Annual General Meeting, held at Pope Paul IV Memorial Hotel in Kampala on November 22, 2014.
A Vision Group journalist, Julius Esegu who was a member of the previous Board, was elected Chairman of a 9-man team for the next 3 years, replacing Mulindwa Mukasa who did not contest for a 2nd term. Daily Monitor’s Mayamba Johnson was unanimously elected as vice Chairperson replacing K-FM’s News Editor and anchor, Hadijah Mwanje.
The Vision Group’ Saul Wokulira Wambuzi and Francis Tumwekwasize Bahene retained their port folios as Secretary and treasurer respectively, Gladys Kigozi is the Deputy Treasurer replacing Kiggundu Joseph. Other Board Members include Enid Ninsiima, Luke Kagiri, Ronald Kalumba and Tom Kalumula.
The out-going were members awarded certificates in recognition of their commendable contribution to the defence and promotion of media rights and journalists’ freedoms. Others awarded include, the former National Coordinator, Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala for his founding role, veteran journalist Haruna Kanaabi and the National Coordinator Robert Ssempala for steering the Organisation.
In his maiden speech, Esegu reiterated his commitment to strengthening the Organisation in order to defend and promote media freedoms and rights. The outgoing Chairperson, Mulindwa commended members of his Board and the technical team at the Secretariat for the achievements within his term in office. The National Coordinator, Ssempala hailed the outgoing Board for giving strategic guidance and leadership to the Organisation.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail:news@hrnjuganda.org/humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk/Website:www.hrnjuganda.org;BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, District Police Commander testifies against a journalist


Kampala, 12th November 2014; Hearing of a case in which a journalist, Mulindwa Mukasa is accused of obstructing Julius Ceaser Tusingwire the District Police Commander, Wandegeya Police station while on duty commenced today at the Law Development Centre Court in Kampala before Grade 1 Magistrate Jolly Nkore Shwanda.
Testifying against Mulindwa, Tusingwire said while in his office on 26th November 2013 at around 3:00 pm he heard commotion at the police counter which forced him to come and see what was happening. “When I moved out of my office, I found three people fighting police officers at the counter. At that time they were taking Kamagu, a journalist we had arrested. They were saying a lot of words and wanted to exceed the counter to go the sensitive areas like the armory,” Tusingwiire said adding that he ordered for the arrest of these people and two of them disappeared. He said Mulindwa remained defiant and “continued shouting attempting to grab Kamagu from the police officers and I ordered for his arrest.”
When asked by HRNJ-Uganda’s legal officer Catherine Anite, whether Mulindwa obstructed him, Tusingwire said Mulindwa did not obstruct him. He said; I was obstructed because I am the commander and my obstruction does not have to be physical.”
The case was adjourned to 27th November 2014 for more prosecution witnesses. Tusingwiire is the principal prosecution witness.
Prosecution led by Aisha Batala Naluzze alleges that Mulindwa who is also the HRNJ-U Board Chairperson on 26th November 2013, willfully obstructed the DPC Wandegeya Police Station from carrying out his lawful duties. Mulindwa and other journalists had gone to Police to find out the reasons that had led to arrest and detention of a fellow journalist Richard Kasule alias Kamagu a radio presenter at Top Radio.

This is a trumped up charge against Mulindwa. The court should expeditiously hear it so that justice is done,” said the HRNJ-Uganda National coordinator Robert Ssempala. 
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail:news@hrnjuganda.org/humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk/Website:www.hrnjuganda.org;BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, commercial cyclist arrested over brutal assault of journalist


Kampala, 30th/October/2014: Police in Kampala arrested a commercial cyclist a.k.a bodaboda on charges of assaulting a Vision Group journalist Ismail Ddamba. He is being detained at Kitebi police station in Rubaga division, Kampala district.
The suspect identified as Buyondo Huzair aged 35 years, a resident of Sserwadda zone in Kabowa, Rubaga division was arrested on the 28th October 2014 at about 7:00pm local time at Kibage bodaboda stage, while four others are still at large.
The officer in charge of the station, Kabojja Hamid confirmed the arrest and promised to ensure that those at large are arrested too, “We will arrest four more prime suspects and see what we can do.” Kabojja told HRNJ-Uganda.
Ddamba was on 12th/April/2014 attacked by a mob of angry boda-boda cyclists while he covered them demanding for the release of their colleague who had been detained by the cyclists’ leaders for allegedly failing to pay operational fees at Kabowa in Kampala. The journalist was intentionally attacked by the cyclists who accused him of being a police spy. Police fired bullets in the air to rescue him.
These suspects have eluded arrest for such a long time, so we commend the police for arresting one of them; it is a step towards attaining justice. Since this matter has dragged, we implore the police to expeditiously apprehend the remaining suspects so that they can be prosecuted as well.” Said HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Robert Ssempala