Kampala, 3rd/November/2017; Police at Kira Road police station arrested Francis Tumwekwasize’s, a Board member for HRNJ-Uganda and Diana Nandudu, HRNJ-Uganda’s lawyer on 1st /November/2017. The duo were detained for more than three hours and made to record police statements. The O.C CID, Neboshi sophie blamed Francis for taking pictures at the said police station. Francis is a freelance journalist who has formerly worked with Wavah Broad Casting services (WBS) and a board treasurer at HRNJ-Uganda.
Tumwekwasize together with the HRNJ-Uganda’s lawyer Nandudu Diana Flavia were following up a case of offensive communication by the Inspector General of police against Stanley Ndawula of the Investigator who is currently detained at the said police station. The offence of offensive communication is provided for under section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act.
“We always take pictures at police stations as journalists and nothing is done to us. Am wondering why this particular case of Stanley is when they are now considering it to be unlawful. We weren’t told which offence we had committed.” Francis narrated.
Tumwekwasize was accused alongside Milton Tumusiime of Sky Reports and Ms. Nandudu Diana. After about three hours of arrest and detention, Francis, Diana and Milton were all released with no formal charges or reason why they had been arrested.
“I made several explanations to the officer that I am a lawyer but she could not listen to me. It is not surprising that even other lawyers were required to record statements over the same matter.” Said Diana.
Meanwhile, Stanley who is still detained at Kira Road Police Station reported to Police’s Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (CIID) in Kibuli where he was interrogated for close to three hours together with the New Vision journalist whom he did not disclose.
“I was with my colleague from the New Vision at CIID, but he was released and I was left there even after signing the bond form. The officers received orders from above and that’s why they are still detaining me. My hope is in you to secure my release.” Stanley told the HRNJ-Uganda team that had gone to visit him.
Stanley Ndawula through his online publication The Investigator has been running series titled CIP Records criticizing the police leadership through his insightful pieces whose authenticity has not been refuted.
It’s a dark day in the Media, Freedom of Expression is under siege. As defenders of free expression, we have to cause an immediate stoppage to the impunity by police. We condemn in the strongest terms the acts of disrespect meted on our staff even after identifying who they were and giving reasons why they were gone to the station, this will not diminish our resolve to ensure that we that freedom of expression is upheld across the board.”