Friday, March 7, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, security guard charged and remanded over assault and robbery of a journalist

Iganga, 22nd/January/2014; Court in Iganga on 22nd/Jan/2014 remanded a security guard, Kemba Azizi, 25 years of age, over alleged assault of a Red Pepper journalist, Solomon Hamala. This was after he denied charges of assault and simple robbery before the Iganga Chief Magistrate Susan Kanyange.
Prosecution led by Aryongo Josephine alleges that on 13th/January/2014 Kemba together with Isiko Yakubu who is still at large, at Iganga Main Taxi Park in Iganga district, assaulted Hamala occasioning him grievous body harm and robbery of the journalist’s digital camera, cell phone and money. Hamala was following up on a story of a demonstration by kiosk owners against the intended demolition of their kiosks by the Iganga Municipal Council authorities.
Kemba -attached to Accurate Services Uganda Ltd, was arrested on the 16th of January at about 06:00pm local time from his place of work at Walugogo Estate, Iganga Town Council and detained at Iganga Central Police Station. Another suspect, Isiko Yakubu who eluded police arrest, is still at large.
Hamala told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda that the duo, on 13th/ January/2014 assaulted him using a baton, bicycle rock and a stick in a scuffle that lasted almost 30 minutes. He was admitted at a nearby clinic in critical condition after sustaining deep cuts and wounds on his head, chest and fingers.
Kemba was remanded to Iganga government prison up to 05th/ February/2014 when the matter will come up in court.

“We commend the police for carrying out the investigations and ensuring that the suspect was taken to court. The police should also ensure that Isiko is arrested and tried. This will act as a deterrent to other security agents who have severally assaulted media practitioners and blocked them from accessing news scenes.” Said Robert Ssempala, HRNJ-Uganda’s National Coordinator.

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