Mbarara, 12th May 2013;Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is calling on the Police to investigate the SIU, Boss Chelimo Beata for orchestrating intimidation and harassment of a radio journalist, James Kasirivu who works with Endigito radio, in Mbarara district, Western Uganda.
SIU is a semi-autonomous body under the Uganda Police Force which investigates serious cases, especially those which the State has interest in. It is notorious for cracking down on hardcore criminals and dealing with opposition politicians. SIU was first named the Violent Crackdown Unit (VCCU) and later Rapid Response Unit (RRU).
On 08th May 2013 four security men in civilian attire attached to SIU picked Kasirivu from his work place, took him to Mbarara police station from where he was detained for one night before driving him off to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) headquarters in Kireka, Kira Sub county, Wakiso District on 9th May. They did not tell him the committed offence, and neither did they allow him to call his relatives or lawyer.
Kasirivu told HRNJ-Uganda that when he asked to be told his crime, one of the officers threatened him with shooting, “We have orders to shoot you if you resist arrest. We have orders to disarm you of anything.” He quotes the arresting officers.
During interrogation at Kireka, Kasirivu was accused of obtaining a sum of Ug. Shs870 million equivalent to US $ 348,000 from a certain herbalist. SIU claimed to have documentation to prove the allegations. But upon production of copies of Kasirivu’s transaction statements from his Mobile Money service provider, it was established that the figures did not tally with those of SIU. They released him in the night after recording a statement. He was driven back to Mbarara where they reached at about 3am.
Sources told HRNJ-Uganda that “Kasirivu has been stopped from mentioning anything to do with Ugandan current affairs –be it politics, economics or social issues in his daily program ‘World Express’ which highlights currents affairs happening around the globe.
The SIU Commandant, Chelimo Beata told HRNJ-Uganda that Kasirivu was implicated in the conning of money from a certain woman, “He is involved in an alleged conning of about Ug. Shs 400 million equivalent to $ 160,000 from a certain woman. She is the complainant.” Kasirivu was however released without a charge.Read More
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