HRNJ-Uganda alert, Trial of a senior police officer accused of assaulting a journalist commences, as Uganda Human Rights Commission orders the Attorney General to appear in another assault case

DSCN5794Kampala, 09th/September/ 2014; The trial of a senior Uganda Police officer, the Divisional Commander of Wandegeya police station, Julius Ceaser Tusingwire has commenced at the High Court in Kampala, with the victim, Mulindwa Mukasa a journalist with the Associated Press news agency asking court to disqualify Tusingwire’s two lawyers, Fred Masaba and Odjambo Bichachi because they work for the Attorney General’s office.

Mulindwa through his lawyer, Isaac Semakadde Kimaze of Centre for Legal Aid told Court presided over by Lady Justice Lydia Mugambe, sitting at Twed Towers in Kampala, that according to Articles 119 and 250(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, it would be an abuse of office for the Attorney General to represent Tusingwire who was sued in his personal and individual capacity.

Mulindwa alleges that on 26th November 2013, Tusingwire ordered for his arrest which was carried out in an inhumane and degrading way. He alleges that he was tortured and sprayed with pepper while in custody at Wandegeya police station. Tusingwire also ordered for the deletion of Mulindwa’s footage which he had taken during the police’s forceful dispersal of journalists from Wandegeya police station, them from rescuing a Top radio journalist, Richard Kisuule aka Kamagu who had been arrested and detained at the same police station.

Court adjourned the matter to the 23rd of September.

In a related development, the Uganda Human Rights Commission has ordered the Attorney General to appear before the Tribunal on the 22nd of September in a matter where Hasfa Nakyanzi, a journalist working with WBS T.V accuses the Uganda Police Force of occasioning her grievous bodily harm and loss of her journalistic tools as she covered a peaceful demonstration by Opposition Political leaders in Jinja town on the 11/March/2011. The Tribunal presided over by Commissioner Katabalirwe Amooti made the order after the Attorney General failed to appear. Present at the Tribunal were Ambassador Olara Otunnu, and the complainant who were ready to testify. The complainant is represented by Catherine Anite, while Kosia Kasibayo held brief for the Attorney General.

“HRNJ-Uganda is elated with the commencement of the trials and pray that they will be expedited in the interest of justice for the victim journalists and the media at large.” said Robert Ssempala, the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator.

 

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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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