HRNJ-Uganda update; Court orders commanders of forces to produce a missing journalist in court
Lira, 27th/July/2011; a High court in Lira has issued an order to the top four commanders of security forces and agencies to produce a missing journalist within 24 hours. Justice Steven Musota who heard the habeas corpus and issued a 24 hour deadline order said that the four top commanders should appear in court with Augustine Okello and show cause why they continue to detain a journalist illegally. Augustine Okello a.k.a Rouks disappeared on July 13th in Lira, in northern Uganda after holding meetings with security chiefs in the area including Lira’s district internal security officer (DISO), Steven Eryaku. Eryaku according to sources allegedly phoned Okello and they met later at Grand Pacific hotel in Lira town.
Today marks the second week since Okello went missing and security forces continued to detain him incommunicado. Reliable sources told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that Okello was kidnapped by three armed plain clothed operatives from Grand Pacific hotel in Lira after the District Internal Security Officer Steven Eryaku requested to wait for him at the hotel. He was later transferred and first detained at Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence headquarters in Kampala until Saturday the 16th/July/2011 when he was transferred to Rapid Response Unit (RRU) based in Kireka a Kampala suburb where he recorded a statement. He was on the 26th July transferred to unknown detention center. HRNJ-Uganda has learnt that Okello was allegedly arrested on grounds that he received a telephone which invited him as a journalist to attend in a meeting Tanzania.
The habeas corpus filled on 25th/July/2011 by Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda lawyer Makmot Kibwanga sued the Inspector General of Police, Chief of Defense Forces, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and Internal Security Organ commanders for arbitrarily arrest and detention of a journalist. We have secured an order and we expect the four top security commanders to produce Okello in court within 24 hours and we have served them said defense lawyer Makmot Kibwanga. He said HRNJ-Uganda has received instructions from high court in Lira for Okello to be produced in Kampala high court. HRNJ-Uganda calls the international community and missions in Uganda to rally behind the court order and put pressure on security forces to ensure that Okello is produced in court.
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