Alternative Digitalk TV Journalists today petitioned the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) over refusal by security to release the media gadgets confiscated during a raid on their offices 3 months ago.
The journalists allege that on 10th March 2022, security led by CMI, UPDF and Police arrested, detained and tortured 9 (Nine) of their members following a raid on their offices Makindye in the capital Kampala. During the raid, they also claim, security confiscated the organization gadgets, rendering them idle and redundant for 3 months (90 days) now.
Of the nine, Norman Tumuhimbise and Bikobere are out on bail over Cyber Stalking the person of the president and offensive communication contrary to section 25 and 26 of the Computer Misuse Act 2019. The rest including Mukose Arnold Anthony, Luwedde Lilian, Nabukeera Teddy, Mukiibi Jeremiah, Kato Tumusiime, Tulyahabwe Rogers and Wabyona Jacob Jeje, were also released on police bond over charges of Cyber Stalking the person of the president and Sedition.
Their gadgets, however, are still in police custody.
According to Musoke Arnold Anthony, a Programs Director at Digitalk, the petition to UHRC was prompted by the inaction of police to respond to their appeal when they petitioned the Directorate Criminal Investigations on May 24 2022, seeking release of the gadgets. He says, CID bosses have since maintained a deaf ear as they are yet to receive response from the institution.
Through their legal team led by Kizza and Mugisha Advocates the journalists petitioned the CDF citing torture, cruel, and inhumane treatnent during detention at Police Special Investigations Unit Kireka. Citing Articles; 23, 24 and 27 of the Constitution, the journalists claim their liberties of expression and privacy were infringed on and seek UHRC intervention in regard to what they called “violation of their fundamental human rights.”
In the 24th May petition to the CDF, Digitalk journalists demanded for immediate release of their colleagues from detention, release of personal gadgets and other confiscated properties not relevant in the ongoing trial.
The journalists also demand for compensation of UGX.50M Ugx to each of Norman Tumuhimbise and Bikobere Farida who were remanded and released by Makindye Magistrates court on bail, and UGX.30M compensation to each of the remaining 7 suspects.
The journalists also want an apology from the government of Uganda for the human rights violations committed against their colleagues after the raid on their media house.
The Commission’s Director Complaints and Investigations, Aidah Nakiganda who received the petition on behalf of UHRC, pledged a swift response and timely reaction to the journalist’s complaints.