Kampala, 15th/March/2022; Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has on Tuesday afternoon petitioned the High Court in Kampala seeking orders compelling the Attorney General of Uganda, the Inspector General of Police, the Commandant of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Kireka and the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), to produce dead or alive the nine arrested journalists of Alternative Digitalk an online TV operating in Makindye.
The journalists have been under detention since Thursday 10th March 2022 when armed security forces raided the TV premises and arrested everyone on sight and also impounded their station van, video cameras, and other gadgets. They have not been produced before any Court of law nor formally charged with any offence known under the law. HRNJ-Uganda constituted a team for their search within several security centres but was unsuccessful since they were denied access to the facilities suspected to be holding them.
It is against this background that the media rights body HRNJ-Uganda through its lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima of Wameli and Company Advocates is seeking the Court’s intervention to secure the personal liberty of the nine applicants.
The arrested journalists include Tumuhimbise Norman, Musoke Anold, Bikobere Faridah, Mukiibi Jeremiah, Tumusiime Kato, Luwedde Lillian, Nabukeera Teangel, Turyahabwe Rogers and Jjeje Wabyona. These were arrested by the respondents and/ or their agents, servants or persons acting under their authority.
The Executive Director of HRNJ-Uganda and Lawyer Turyamusiima told journalists at the High Court at Twed Towers in Kampala that the detained journalists are reportedly being held incommunicado under illegal detention by the respondents, and that their continued detention is infringing on their rights to personal liberty, among other rights under the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
The lawyer argues that on 10th March 2022 at around 3 pm the applicants (Journalists) while at their offices located at Kintu Zone, Lukuli Parish, Makindye Division in Kampala, armed police officers and other plain-clothed security operatives in an operation that saw the whole area cordoned off, pounced and grabbed the Journalists, forced and brutally dragged them into waiting vans and taken to an unknown destination.
The applicant’s Lawyers, HRNJ-Uganda team, and relatives have tried to access them from the known detention facilities at SIU Kireka, CMI, Jinja Road Police Station, and Katwe Police Station among others but in vain.
“We pray that the court reigns in on having the journalists produced from incommunicado detention since their continued stay in the hands of the security forces beyond the mandatory 48 hours is illegal.” Said Ssempala Robert