HRNJ-Uganda Alert: Top commanders sued over missing journalist
Lira, 25nd/July/2011; Three top commanders of security organs have been sued for holding radio Rhino presenter Augustine Okello a.k.a. Rouks incommunicado. Okello 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. Since then, his phone went off and he has not returned to his home or his work. It’s nearly two weeks but police and other government sources consistently denied knowledge of Okello’s whereabouts. The Habeas Corpus filled at Lira High court by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) lawyer Makmot Kibwanga sued the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) and the Internal Security Organ Commander for unlawful detention of a journalist. The application seeks court to order the three commanders appear in court and give reasons as to why a journalist continued to be detained incommunicado. The Uganda’s constitution prohibit anybody to be detained beyond 48 hours after his/her arrest meaning that such a person shall have the right to access to his family, a lawyer, and a doctor which Okello continue to be denied.
Article 23 (2) of the Constitution of Republic of Uganda requires that a person arrested, restricted or detained shall be kept in a place authorized by the law. And where one is illegally detained, sub article (9) can be applied and its states that the right to an order of habeas corpus shall be inviolable and shall not be suspended. According to Human Rights Watch statement released On July 23, it quoted the police inspector general, Gen. Kale Kaihura confirming that Okello was arrested by the security and is to appear in court soon but Okello’s precise location remains unknown. We have sued the trio to bring the suspect to court or show-cause why they should continue to detain Okello. The continued detention is very illegal said lawyer Makmot Kibwanga The application is set be heard on 25th/July/2011
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
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Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627