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Uganda:Police drop charges against Journalists


By Human Rights Network For Journalists-Uganda

24th June 2013.

The police have, on 24th.June.2013, dropped charges of ‘inciting violence’ which had been brought against two journalists who together with others had camped at Namuwongo to protest  the arbitrary closure of media houses and their continued siege by security forces.

“We have dropped the charges against you,” declared the officer in charge of criminal investigations at Kisugu police station, where Mulindwa had gone to report on bond. Ntege’s charges were dropped first early this month.

The HRNJ-Uganda Executive Board Chairperson, Mulindwa Mukasa and William Ntege aka Kyumakyayesu were arrested on 28th.May.2013 as police brutally dispersed a team of journalists mobilized by HRNJ-Uganda in a campaign dubbed ‘Walk to Camp at Namuwongo’ until the closed media houses, namely; Daily Monitor, KFM, Dembe radio and Red Pepper were re-opened. The duo was arrested and detained at Kisugu police station for over eight hours before they were released on bond. The HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator was also arrested but released moments later.

The government closed down the said media houses for at least 10 days over the search of a controversial letter authored by the then Coordinator of security services, Gen. David Sejusa (formerly Tinyefuza). The security defied court orders to vacate the respective media houses premises after earlier permission to search the same premises were recalled after they were abused.

“This clearly shows that the police acted highhandedly to arrest, detain and charge the journalists who were peacefully protesting the arbitrary closure and continued siege of these media houses. The government should desist from curtailing critical and free media which is essential for democratic societies. We also demand that the officers who brutally dispersed peaceful journalists and other members of the civil society be investigated and punished.