Kampala, 16th/February/2018; Following the continued disappearance of the New Vision journalist, Charles Etukuli, the Vision Group has run to court seeking an order that the Attorney General and the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) produce the journalist to Court without fail or release him unconditionally.
The High Court in Kampala set the 19th / February/ 2018 to hear the application filed by the Vision Group through lawyer Tony Kirabira. The applicant in the matter is Charles Etukuri whereas the Attorney General and the Director General of Internal Security Organisation are the respondents.
Kirabira told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that the grounds for the petition were that Charles was illegally arrested by the security operatives, adding that he is still being held incommunicado/ under illegal detention by his captors, and that the continued illegal detention of the of the journalist infringes on his right to personal liberty among other rights as enshrined under the 1995 Constitution.
According to the New Vision, Etukuri went missing on 12th February 2018 at about 2:00pm when he was picked by Internal Security Operatives at the Vision Group offices. His attempt to resist arrest proved futile as the security operatives over powered him and whisked away in a white double cabin that had six occupants, five in military attire and one in civilian clothes. The said car had reportedly parked near the Vision Group offices by 10:00 am.
It is not clear why he was arrested but sources say that it is related to stories that he published on Saturday 10th and 11th February 2018 about the demise of Finnish National who died at the Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala. In the story Etukuri indicated that senior army officers were involved in the murder.
“There is an escalation of attacks on journalists because of their work, which is an affront to freedom of the media and rights of the journalists in Uganda. There are better legally acceptable ways of causing arrest than resorting to kidnap and closure of media houses as is being evidenced lately. Charles should be produced to the courts of law to face juustice if he committed any offences of be released unconditionally.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala