Kanungu, 4th/April/2011; Police in Kanungu has opened triumphed-up charges against the New Vision journalist Patson Baraire who was assaulted in court premises over taking a photo without permission.
On 18th/March/2011 the councilor elect of Kanungu town council Emmy Magezi Byarugaba assaulted Baraire after attending a court session where he (Byarugaba) was accused of assaulting some individuals during the local council elections.
Baraire immediately reported the matter to police, recorded a statement and later transferred to the police surgeon to be diagnosed with bodily injuries.
Sources at the Kanungu police told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda
HRNJ-Uganda) that Byarugaba opened a counter case against the journalist on the same day.
We have learnt that Baraire was supposed to be taken to court on 1st/April/2011 on charges of assaulting Byarugaba but the intervention of HRNJ-Uganda has caused the Resident State Attorney has called for the case file and study the charges.
“I was informed by police through a phone call on Friday morning the 1st/April/2011 that I was being taken to court to answer charges of assaulting Byarugaba. I wondered how I could be taken to court yet I reported an assaulted to police” said Baraire
Information reaching HRNJ-Uganda indicates that the charge sheet is likely to be amended to fighting in a public place from assault.
When HRNJ-Uganda contacted the Kanungu District Police Commander (DPC) Moses Ssemakula said both Baraire and Byarugaba are on charges of fighting in a public place and they are being taken to court any time this week.
“It’s absurd that police officials in Kanungu district could be convinced that a photo journalist (Baraire) who was on duty could beat-up somebody whom he was photographing. We insist that these are flimsy charges preferred against Baraire” said HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.
Ssebaggala said such charges against Baraire are intended to frustrate him from pursuing the assault case against Byarugaba.
HRNJ-Uganda expresses its dismay with the way the police is persecuting Baraire and demand that police should withdraw such charges against Baraire with immediate effect.
We also call for the intervention of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) into the matter as a way of stopping individuals in police from persecuting Baraire.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road – Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627