Kalisizo, 24th/April/2013; a chief magistrate’s court in Kalisizo has issued criminal summons against three Kalisizo government prison officers to plead to charges of assault and malicious damage to property.
The officers include Corporal Semata Robert, Corporal Kyomwiru Frank and Warder Mukasa Alex who are accused of attacking two journalists; Pascal Lutabi a reporter with WBS television and the Daily Monitor and John Bosco Mulyowa a journalist with the government owned Vision Group.
The prosecution led by Namazzi Rachael prayed to court presided over by the Chief Magistrate Awaid Susan to issue criminal summons against the trio, who despite having escorted inmates to the same court in the morning, did not attend court in the afternoon when their file was read out. The Court sits about 50 meters away from the prison.
The journalists allege that on Monday March 18, 2013 at about 17:00 hours, they were attacked by the trio who severely beat them with a huge stick, a gun butt, kicks and blows, while they had gone to Kalisizo government prison at Kalisizo Town Council in Rakai district, to cover the news of the escape of 10 inmates that had taken place in the morning hours on the same day.
During the scuffle that lasted over 10 minutes outside the prison premises, Lutabi was severely beaten and as such sustained body injuries. The journalists’ video and photo cameras were destroyed and confiscated by the prison officers. The two journalists were arrested and detained at Kalisizo police station, where after Lutabi was charged with assault- a charge the Resident State Attorney did not sanction due to insufficient evidence on the file.
The matter was adjourned to May 02, 2013 when the suspects are expected to be in court.
“We commend the police for expeditiously having investigated the matter and forwarding the file to court for the suspects to be tried. We implore the prisons authorities to facilitate the process of an expeditious trial by ensuring that the three suspects appear in court to take plea. Otherwise, such attacks on media practitioners are a very big threat to freedom of expression and information” said HRNJ-Uganda’ National Coordinator, Wokulira Ssebaggala.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
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P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
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