Tuesday, June 30, 2015

HRNJ-Uganda alert, media body HRNJ-Uganda loses property worth millions in office break-in.


Kampala, 30th/June/2015; A media rights body, Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has lost vital information and property to unknown persons who broke into their office premises in Kayanja Triangle Zone in Rubaga, a Kampala suburb, and made away with all desktop computers, laptops, documents and unspecified amount of money for project activities.
It is hard for us to comprehend. This was a highly sophisticated intrusion. The organization is paralyzed, a lot of our important information was taken, we can’t tell what they intend to use it for. We suspect this to be a reprisal for the work we do in defending and promoting media freedoms and journalists’ rights in the country,” said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala this morning.
This is the second time in two years when HRNJ-Uganda offices are being broken into. There have been several attempts to break into the office but foiled by the security guards. However last night the security guard, who was on duty disappeared in the morning after the break in, leaving behind her gun.
The attackers used the window on the National Coordinator’s office after removing the burglar proof to enter the premises, they broke all internal office doors, vandalized drawers and scattered documents on the floor as they made away with others. They also made away with the organizations money-safe which was vandalized and found at the Rubaga police post by HRNJ-U staff who had gone to report the incident.
When I arrived this morning I found the guard outside the gate, she opened for me, I entered and proceeded to open the office. I was shocked to see broken pieces of metallic bars near my boss’s office window. I rushed back to check on the guard only to realize that she had disappeared leaving behind the gun,” said Emmanuel Magambo the in-charge Information Technology and Security at HRNJ-Uganda.
Numerous rights-based non-governmental organizations have been broken into in Uganda and useful information and property lost. According to NGO-Forum, over 15 offices of human rights organizations have been broken into under similar circumstances in the recent past. They include; ACCU, FHRI, EHAHRDP, AGHA, HRNJ-Uganda, AFODE, HURINET-Uganda, ACME, among others.
Their interest was to access our information which they did because how do you explain the fact that expensive and portable machines like printers, projectors and photocopiers were not taken! They targeted specific offices within the premises, making us more suspicious of the intentions of the attackers. We hope that the police will investigate this matter to its logical conclusion.” said said Robert Ssempala, the 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

Monday, June 22, 2015

HRNJ-Uganda alert, Journalist acquitted of ‘obstruction’ charges


Kampala, 22nd June 2015; Mulindwa Mukasa, a journalist with the Associated Press, has on 22nd June been acquitted by the Magistrates Court of obstructing the former District Police Commander, Wandegeya Police station, Julius Ceaser Tusingwire while executing his duties.
In her ruling, the Senior Principal Magistrate at the Law Development Centre Court, Jolly Nkore Shwanda said that the prosecution evidence was inconsistent and heavily discredited by the defense during cross-examination to be relied on.
“… Directing my mind as Court to the law and the evidence provided on record, there were great differences especially the testimony of the second prosecution witness having been discredited during cross examination. I fail to find that the accused has a case to answer. I accordingly acquit him as prayed for by defense Counsel,” ruled the Magistrate.
Mulindwa was represented by HRNJ-Uganda' lawyer Catherine Anite while the prosecution was led by Naluzze Aisha Batala.
In June 2014, Mulindwa was charged with obstructing Julius Ceaser Tusingwire, the then District Police Commander of Wandegeya Police Station in November 2013 while transferring Kasule Richard alias Kamaggu, a radio journalist who had been arrested for hosting an opposition politician, the Deputy Lord Mayor, Sulaiman Kidandala.
Prior to this criminal charge, Mulindwa had instituted civil proceedings in the High Court against Tusingwire accusing him of harassment while covering the arrest and detention of Kamagu. The matter is currently before Justice Lydia Mugambe.
Speaking to HRNJ-Uganda after the ruling, Mulindwa said that the criminal charge was trumped up and diversionary and that he is happy to finally regain his freedom to pursue the civil case against Tusingwire who must answer for his unprofessional conduct against journalists.
Despite the lengthy trial, justice has finally been procured. It is unfortunate that police is misusing its powers to harass and intimidate journalists through tramping up charges which they cannot prove. Police should promote the safety of journalists other than curtailing their freedoms.” said Robert Ssempala, the 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

Friday, June 19, 2015

HRNJ-Uganda alert, police detain journalist for photographing a suspect at court


Tabitha (right) talks to her father Patrick Bamwise Kakaire (left).
Kampala, 19th/June/2015; a court reporter working with the Vision Group, Betty Amamukirori was on 18th June, arrested by the police at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, a Kampala suburb for photographing a suspect during a court break. She declined to delete the said photos, and later released without a charge.
Betty told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda that she was arrested by the police upon photographing a suspect, one Patrick James Bamwise Kakaire, 64 years, a resident of Jinja district who was convicted of a land matter in which he converted family land into his names without the authority of the 22 beneficiaries. The Presiding Judge Paul Mugamba convicted him to UGX4.5million fine or serves four years imprisonment.
Betty was detained for almost 2 hours on the orders of Bamwise’s daughter, a one Tabitha (said to be an employee of the Ugandan Parliament), in a bid to force her to delete the photos. Betty said that the police officers at the court led by one Anyanga tried to intimidate her to surrender the camera but declined, “The police were ordering me to delete the photo, they threatened to undress me and search everywhere for the camera which I had used to take the convict’ photo. I identified myself to them twice as a Vision Group reporter, but they continued harassing me on Tabitha’ orders. The police were not helpful at all.” Betty told HRNJ-Uganda at the Court soon after her release.
Another court reporter, Veronica Kayaga, who witnessed the incident, told HRNJ-Uganda that much as the Court Clerk explained to the police that what the journalist had done was okay since the photo was taken during a court break, they were defiant and continued to force Betty to delete the said photo.
We are happy that Betty’s fellow court reporters rushed to her defence. We urge the court authorities to ensure the protection of the court reporters who face safety and security challenges from irrational individuals within court. The police should desist from being used to violate media freedoms. They should guarantee the safety and security of all court reporters especially those covering highly sensitive cases.” 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:
info@hrnjuganda.org

Thursday, June 18, 2015

HRNJ-Uganda alert, Journalist murdered in cold blood, husband arrested in connection.


Scovia Anena while still alive (WEB PHOTO)
Gulu, 17th/June/2015; Police in Gulu district have arrested a man in connection with the murder of a 23-year old freelance journalist, Scovia Anena, who was working with a Christian based radio, Favor FM. Residents discovered Anena’s decomposing body on Monday 15th June, 2015 lying in clotted blood in her rented house, at Kolo quarters in Layibi Division, Gulu Municipality in Northern Uganda.
The Gulu District Police Commander, Martin Okoyo told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that Anena’s husband was arrested in connection with the murder, “We have arrested one suspect in connection with her murder, it is her husband, and we have him in our cells as further investigations are going on. We arrested him from Gulu.” Okoyo said in an interview. Sources have identified the suspect as Joel Kenneth.
A local journalist, who preferred anonymity, told HRNJ-Uganda that Anena’s body had a rope tied around her neck and onto a chair, with all things in her room scattered around meaning that she must have put up a fight but overpowered by her killer(s). The journalist said that Anena was sleeping alone in the house since her husband was working with an NGO in Pader district, and would return home over weekends. The source said that post-mortem examination results indicated that Anena sustained chest and lung injuries, pointing to a possible use of a blunt object on her. Anena was said to have been pregnant for her first child.
The deceased’ News Editor at Favor FM, Caroline Ayugi told HRNJ-Uganda that, “Anena had last reported to work on Friday 12th June, 2015 and left after filing her stories. She went back very okay after work, she did not hint on any threats to her life. Anena’s burial is due on Thursday 18th June, at 09:00am local time, at Layibi.
Meanwhile, Central Police Station in Gulu arrested a Vision Group journalist, Lamony Jee Wilfred on 15th June, 2015 while following up on a story of the theft of a commercial motor cycle. He was detained for a night and released in the evening of the next day, without a charge, on the orders of the Regional Police Commander. He lost his company identity card and National Identity Card and other valuables.
This is another sad moment for the media. HRNJ-Uganda conveys its condolences to the media and the deceased’s family. Police should make thoroughly investigate this horrific murder and bring the perpetrators to book. There are other previous murders of journalists for which the police should release its investigation reports. The police should also stop arresting journalists on duty and charging them on tramped up charges. Police should compensate Mr. Lamony” 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. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

HRNJ-Uganda alert, Journalist assaulted by suspects in the presence of police.


Sulaiman Mutebi (WEB PHOTO)
Entebbe, 15th /June/2015; Sulaiman Mutebi, a journalist working with the Vision Group was on 15th June 2015 assaulted by two suspected land fraudsters at Kisubi police station in Entebbe, Wakiso District in full presence of police officers.
Mutebi told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda that he was assaulted by some suspected land fraudsters who had been arrested but released by the same police. “When the suspects realized I was covering them, they pounced on me and started beating me up. I was kicked in the stomach, on the head and jaws. My camera fell down and got spoilt in the process. All this time the police officers were looking on without helping me. I was saved by a traffic officer who arrived and found them assaulting me.” Mutebi told HRNJ-Uganda.
Mutebi, who told HRNJ-Uganda that he had sustained injuries and body pains, had gone to cover a story of two men who are suspected of dealing in land fraudulently. On reaching the police station, he was able to interview some police officers, and as he turned to the Officer in Charge of Criminal Investigations, he saw the two suspects walking away, so he tilted his camera and started covering in that process, prompting the wrath of the suspects who pounced on him.
Mutebi has recorded a case of assault and malicious damage at Kisubi police against the alleged land fraudsters, who were identified as Solomon Tumwesigye and David Muhakanizi. Efforts to get a comment from the Police were futile.
Adrian Bbaale Bwanika , a Vision Group journalist was arrested and detained at Kasangati police station late last year in a similar as he covered land fraud related story. In a turn of events, police charged him with disobedience of lawful order, a case which was later dismissed by the Kasangati Magistrates Court for lack of evidence.
HRNJ-Uganda is dismayed with this unfortunate incident that happened at a police station in the full presence of police officers whose role is to keep law and order.” The police’s disciplinary body –PSU should investigate into the conduct of the implicated officers, and also cause the arrest of suspects for assaulting the journalists.” 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:
info@hrnjuganda.org      |        Website: hrnjuganda.org