Kampala, 5th/Aug/2011;Hearing of a case in which a photo journalist Arthur Kintu accusing a businessman over assault and malicious damage to property has taken off at Buganda road court with two witnesses taking a stand Arthur Kintu a photo journalist with the government owned paper the New Vision who is the main complainant and Henry Mukasa a senior reporter at the same news paper testified against Hajji Hassan Basajjabalaba in a court session presided over Grade One magistrate Evan Faith Palodi. Basajjabalaba was first charged with two counts of assault and malicious damage to property in September 2010 and dismissed on grounds of failure by theDirector of Public Prosecution (DPP) to finalize investigations. The case was also dismissed without physical appearance of Basajjabalaba before court to take a plea.
The case was early this year reinstated after Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) petitioned the former High Court Principle Justice James Ogoola for intervention. Prosecution alleges that Basajjabalaba assaulted Kintu on 6th/September/2010 during the National Resistance Movement (NRM) delegates conference which was at Mandela national Stadium, Namboole.
Kintu in his evidence before court said Basajjabalaba trounced on him after taking his picture. I was tipped off by my colleague that Basajjabalaba had won the position of the NRM’s Entrepreneurship league chairman and I went to take his photo. After taking his picture he advanced towards me and grabbed my camera by the lens Kintu said. Basajjabalaba asked who has given you permission but I replied that I was a journalist from the New Vision and produced my Identity card.Kintu added that Basajjabalaba tried to snatch his camera but he held on it which resulted into, slapping in the face and boxing his lips.Henry Mukasa who is a second witness said he was in a distance of around five meters when he saw Kintu being boxed in the face which caused bleeding of his lips.
We applaud the judiciary’s intervention into the matter and decided to put Basajjabalaba back on the hook and to be tried for his wrong deeds. Such a move we believe will reduce on cases of mistreatment of journalists with impunity Said HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairman Robert Ssempala Although the presiding magistrate advised both parties to take the advantage of settling the matter out of court but the case has been scheduled to resume on 8th/Aug/2011 with more witnesses.
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