Police and city enforcement officers rough up, detain journalist

Wakiso, 07th /November/2012; Ssematimba  Bwejiire, a Radio Simba journalist was yesterday beaten by policemen and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) law enforcement officers for “disorganizing” their work as he attempted to record them impounding a commuter taxi that had allegedly defaulted KCCA monthly dues at Mulusanja, a Kampala suburb. The journalist, who sustained body injuries and his property stolen, was thrown on a KCCA patrol pick-up and driven to Kanyanya police station as law enforcement officers roughly stamped their feet on him.

“Over 20 officers from police and KCCA pounced on me and started beating me. They kicked, boxed and slapped me. They accused me of disorganizing their work. They pulled my shirt and tore it. I fell down as I pleaded with them that I was a journalist. They threw me on one of their patrol pick-ups, kept stepping on me and took me to Kanyanya police station where I was detained. I feel a lot of pain on the head and chest. I lost my audio recorder and money.” Ssematimba told HRNJ-Uganda today.

He was released on the intervention of the Resident City Commissioner for Kampala, Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka who accused police and KCCA officers of “unprofessional” conduct referring to the incident as “unfortunate”.

“I will make sure that all the culprits are arrested.” Hashaka told HRNJ-U today.

The Officer in Charge, Kanyanya police station, Mathias Turyasingura, described Ssematimba as a victim of circumstances and advised him to open up a case. “The file is being handled but no arrests have been made so far”. Turyasingura told HRNJ-U.

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About Human Rights Network For Journalists-Uganda

HRNJ-Uganda was established in 2005 by a group of human rights-minded journalists who developed a sense of activism amidst a deteriorating context due to glaring abuses targeting the media. The network gained formal registration as an independent non-profit and non-partisan media organisation in 2006. The identity of HRNJ-Uganda lies with its diverse membership across the board including the print and electronic media, freelance investigative journalists and individuals from other professions.
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