HRNJ-U Statement; “We welcome the move to suspend senior ranking officers but take action against their subordinates too who physically assaulted the journalists”

Rakai,14th/April/2013; Human Rights Network for Journalists–Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has welcomed the action taken by the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr. Johnson Byabashaijja to suspend the Officer-in-Charge of Kalisizo Government prison in Rakai District, Principal Officer 1 (PO1) Okello Tom and the Regional Prisons Commander for Southern region, Asiimwe Julius over the attack of journalists. However, this action falls short of what is required of the prisons authorities in as far as punishing all culprits is concerned.

The three implicated prisons officers, namely; Corporal Robert Ssemata, Corporal Kyomwiru Frank and Warder Mukisa Alex who were on 21st March 2013 charged with ‘Discreditable Conduct’ and their files sent to the prisons head quarters in Kampala, have been kept on job with no justifiable reason. The trio was implicated in the alleged assault of journalists Pascal Lutabi, a WBS reporter and Daily Monitor correspondent and John Bosco Mulyowa a journalist with the government-owned Vision Group at Kalisizo Government prison while covering news of the escape of over 10 inmates from the prison on 18th March, 2013.

The journalists lost property and their cameras destroyed, Lutabi sustained serious injuries. This happened in the presence of Mr. Tom Okello, the OC Station who did not restrain his junior officers from such barbaric acts.

Whereas HRNJ-Uganda commends the prisons department for the action so far taken, further action should also be taken against the errant three prison officers who violently attacked the journalists.

Journalists have been at the centre of attack by particularly security officers who have moved away scot-free despite their unlawful actions being reported to their bosses for action

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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

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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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