HRNJ-Uganda alert, Police drags journalists’ leader to court over ‘obstruction’

mulindwa1Kampala, 30th/July/2014; a magistrate’s court at the Law Development Center at Makerere in Kampala has granted a cash bail to the Board Chairperson of the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, Mulindwa Mukasa in a case where he is allegedly accused of obstructing a police officer from arresting a suspect. The case was brought against him by the Wandegeya Police Station Commander, Julius Caesar Tusingwire. Mulindwa denied the charges.

Prosecution led by Naluzze Aisha Batala alleges that on 26th November 2013, Mulindwa obstructed a police officer, Julius Caesor Tusingwire from arresting a suspect at Wandegeya police station contrary to Section 238(B) of the Penal Code Act. However, Tusingwire, who was not present in court, did not name the said suspect.

This comes just 20days after Mulindwa Mukasa dragged Tusingwire to the High Court over inhumane and degrading treatment, a case which is due to come up on September 09th, 2014 before Justice Lydia Mugambe, in which he prayed court to dismiss Tusingwire from the police force, among other prayers. He has vowed not to abandon the case.

Mulindwa, through his lawyer, Isaac Kimaze Ssemakadde prayed to court to dismiss the suit on ground that he was not dully served with criminal summons as well as the charge sheet by either a police officer or a court process server but learnt of the case sent through an sms by the investigating officer to a third party. According to the case file, the charge sheet was received by court on 17th/June/2014 and signed and sealed the following day. “The failure to serve the accused was in bad faith, it tantamounts to violation of his right to be served and to prepare his defence,” Ssemakadde told Court presided over by the Senior Principal Magistrate Grade 1, Shwanda Nkore Jolly.

Mulindwa was released on a cash bail of UGX 150,000/= (USD 60), with one surety, Martin Busuulwa Nsereko, a journalist with WBS TV at a non-cash bond of UGX 550,000/= (USD 200), but told to produce a second surety at the next court sitting. The matter was adjourned to August 08th, 2014 for court to rule as to whether there was due service to Mulindwa or not.

HRNJ-Uganda hopes that the court will dismiss this case because it violated the procedures of natural justice where the police declined to serve the defendant with the charge sheet, and also issue him with summons. Court should not condone the police’s violation of people’s rights to fair justice. We believe that this is a trumped up charge aimed at intimidating Mulindwa to withdraw the earlier High Court Civil case instituted against the DPC, Tusingwire.” said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.

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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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