Court orders for city mayor’s arrest over Journalist assault

Kampala, 13th/July/2012; Court in Kampala has ordered for the arrest of the Mayor of Kampala’s Central Division Godfrey Nyakaana Amooti to face trial over robbery and assault of a Red Pepper journalist George Fidel Arinaitwe.The warrant was issued by the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Mary Khainza after Nyakaana failed to heed to criminal summons issued against him last month. State Prosecutor Nelly Asiku asked the court to order for Nyakaana’s arrest.

Prosecution alleges that on February, 23 2011 during local council general elections for Kampala Lord Mayor, Nyakaana unlawfully attacked Arinaitwe causing him actual bodily harm and also robbed him of his Sony camera worth 400,000shs. In a bid to destroy the photos which Arinaitwe had taken, Nyakaana is alleged to have grabbed the camera from Arinaitwe and destroyed its memory card before punching him several times. He was displeased by photos taken of the fracas that broke out after people started accusing him of vote stuffing at the Railway ground polling station.

At the time of the attack, Nyakaana was overseeing the votes of the ruling party’s (NRM) candidate Peter Sematimba. The elections were later cancelled by the Electoral Commission upon discovering that they were marred by wide spread irregularities throughout the district. They were later re-organized and Ssematimba lost to the opposition’s Erias Lukwago who is the current lord mayor of the city authority.
The matter was adjourned to July 27th for Nyakaana to appear in court

.“HRNJ-Uganda has a lot of hope in this case because it would serve to deter public officials from misusing their offices to curtail media work. It is however unfortunate that Nyakaana was not in court. We hope that the police will execute the arrest warrant and produce him to face trial.” Said HRNJ-Uganda lawyer Catherine Anite

HRNJ-UG Admin

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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