HRNJ-Uganda Statement: The Sim-Card Registration Case

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HRNJ-Uganda lawyers, from left-right; Denis Ssembuya, Nelson Walusimbi and Isaac Kimaze. Looking on is UCC lawyer Joseph Matsiko. Court adjourned the hearing to May 20.

Kampala 17th/May/2013; This case is coming up on Monday, the 20th May 2012 at 9:00a.m.for “a scheduling/status conference” and “consideration of submissions in respect of the petitioners’ prayer for a temporary injunction”.

Hon. Mr. Justice Eldad Mwangutsya is the trial judge who had earlier been allocated to handle the case, but we have learnt that he has been promoted to the Court of Appeal. We therefore anticipate that this status conference will be his last involvement in the case as he is expected to make a formal handover of all court matters to another judge in the Civil Division.

On the 7th February 2013 the applicants/petitioners; Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda and Legal Brains Trust, filed a human rights action in the Civil Division of the High Court of Uganda seeking, in the public interest, a set of declaratory orders and an injunction to restrain the Respondents from switching off, or directing telecommunication service providers operating in Uganda to switch off or deactivate, the SIM-cards of unregistered subscribers on the 1st March 2013 or any other deadline that the Respondents may thereafter appoint without following established procedures and before rectifying the illegalities, irregularities and anomalies which, the petitioners contend, have characterized the SIM-card registration project.

Although the respondents, i.e. Uganda Communications Commission and Government, appear to have unilaterally extended the deadline for deactivation of unregistered SIM-cards from March 1, 2013 to either May 31, 2013 or August 1, 2013 (it is for the relevant government agencies to bring clarity and context on this aspect), we believe that this development shall have no effect on our litigation.

This is because our court papers were carefully and expertly pleaded to challenge the respondents’ intended or threatened act of switching off, or directing telecommunication service providers operating in Uganda to switch off or deactivate, the SIM-cards of unregistered subscribers on the 1st March 2013or any other deadline that the Respondents may thereafter appoint without following established procedures and before rectifying the illegalities, irregularities and anomalies which, the petitioners contend, have characterized the SIM-card registration project. This is the gravamen of our case.

The case for an interim order or temporary injunction

We are of the humble view that the main suit raises substantial issues of law of great and general importance to the public which deserve a full trial on the merits. This could take a very long time in the Courts of Law. Read More

 

For More Information Contact;

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone

P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627

E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org / humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk /

Website: http://www.hrnjuganda.org ;BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

 

 

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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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