Kalisizo, 12th/June/2013; the trial of three Kalisizo prison officers accused of assaulting journalists kicked off on 11th June, 2013 at Kalisizo in Rakai district, with the first prosecution witness Pascal Lutabi testifying against the officers.
Lutabi, a journalist with WBS television told Court, presided over by the Kaliszo Grade 1 Magistrate, Awidi Susan, that the trio, namely; Corporal Ssemata Robert, Corporal Kyomwiru Frank and Warder Mukasa Alex, on 18th March 2013 roughed him up, beat him and destroyed his Panasonic video camera and Nikon photo camera, as he was following up a news story of the escape of inmates from Kalisizo government prison.
He said that he was outside the prison premises when the trio descended on him and started assaulting him. He was cross-examined by the three officers, who on 17th May 2013 denied the charges. The case was adjourned to July 2, 2013 when more witnesses are expected to testify against the officers.
Prosecution led by Namazzi Rachael alleges that the trio attacked and severely beat the journalists a huge stick, a gun butt, whilst raining kicks and blows on them when they had gone to Kalisizo government prison, in Kalisizo Town Council, Rakai district, to cover the news of the escape of 10 inmates, occasioning them bodily harm and destroying two cameras. The Commissioner General of prisons, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija earlier on described the attack on the journalists as a ‘barbaric act’. The Officer-in-Charge of the prison, Okello Tom was later suspended from duty for failing to prevail over the situation.
“The trial of these prison officers is a right direction in trying to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the media in Uganda against overzealous security officers who attack media practitioners in total disregard of the law.” said HRNJ-Uganda’ National Coordinator, Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.
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
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