HRNJ-Uganda alert, journalist sentenced to jail over criminal trespass at Parliament

kyuma docKampala, 13th/December/2014; A City Hall Court in Kampala has sentenced a freelance journalist, William Ntege aka Buganda Kyumakyayesu to two months in prison on charges of criminal trespass and being a common nuisance at the Parliament of Uganda. Ntege had gone to Parliament to petition the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga over police brutality on journalists and other Ugandans.

A Senior Grade one magistrate Elias Kakooza convicted Ntege to jail over criminal trespass, while cautioned him on the second count of common nuisance.

Prosecution led by State Attorney Miriam Njuki told court that on 9th/Dec/2014, at Parliament in Kampala, Ntege did an act not authorized by law when he lawfully entered into the parliamentary building but remained there with an intention to demonstrate and disrupt business within parliament. Police confiscated his audio and visual evidence to police brutality.

She told court that Ntege also chained and padlocked himself on a bar at the fly-over connecting the South wing to Northern wing of the parliament building, and that efforts to ask him to leave failed until the officers sought the services of a technician to cut the chain, leading to his arrest and prosecution.

Ntege is the second journalist to be convicted and sentenced to prison this year, after Ronald Ssembuusi a correspondent with CBS radio was convicted and sentenced to either one year in prison or pay a One million Shillings fine (USD 400) over criminal defamation. Ssembuusi has since appealed his conviction and sentence at the High Court in Masaka.

Ntege has severally been a victim of police brutality while on duty, his video cameras destroyed and confiscated on most of the occasions, yet the perpetrators were never acted upon. He told HRNJ-Uganda at the KCCA Hall Court that he would appeal his conviction and sentence saying he was not fairly tried as he was not directly asked to plead to the charges, which he denies to have committed.

HRNJ-Uganda is dismayed with the hasty way in which Ntege was tried and convicted. We would therefore support him to challenge his conviction and sentence. The police should desist from bringing tramped up charges against journalists and Ugandans who take to peaceful demonstration which is provided for under the Constitution of Uganda” said Robert Ssempala, the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator.

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:
info@hrnjuganda.org / humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk

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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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