Wakiso, 21st/Oct/2011; A New Vision journalist has been arrested for accessing Dr. Kiiza Besigye’s residence located at Kasangati, Wakiso district without police permission.
Since Monday the 17th/ Oct/2011 police has been camping at the residence of the opposition leader and keeping him under house arrest.
Herbert Ssempoogo a senior reporter at the New Vision a government owned paper had been assigned to cover Dr. Besigye’s press conference on 20th/Oct/2011.
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has learnt that Ssempoogo was intercepted and arrested few meters away from Dr. Besigye’s gate.
“I was asked by police who had given me permission to access Dr. Besigye’s residence and I told them I was going to cover a press conference and on that note I produced my identity. A police officer ordered for my arrest and I tried to run away because of fear but they caught up with me and had me arrested” said Ssempoogo.
He said after the arrest he was taken before the commanding officer one Sam Omara (heading police camping at Dr. Besigye’s residence) who slapped me thrice and ordered that I should be handcuffed. He was then ordered to sit on the ground, remove his shoes and later driven to Kasangati police station.
Ssempoogo narrated that upon arriving at Kasangati police station he was ordered to record a statement after which he was released without a charge.
“It’s clear that the police force is holding rights and freedoms of journalists hostage. We wonder where these powers come from because there is no law in Uganda or international treaties that oblige journalists to seek permission from police on matters concerning their work” said HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala
HRNJ-Uganda condemn such practices in the strongest term possible as we study the law to deal with one Sam Omara
We also call upon the Uganda Human Rights Commission to speed up its investigations into violations committed against journalists during the April Walk to Work.
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