Kampala, 16th/Jan/2012; Hearing of a case lodged with Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Court four years ago by journalists has got a new hearing date set.
The Commission has set the hearing for 07th/February/2012 at the Commission headquarters on Buganda Road in Kampala according to the latest summons. The earlier hearing on 09th/Dec/2011 failed to take off under unclear circumstances.
The journalists protested brutal attacks by police and other security agencies.
In 2007, the journalists including Sam Kayiwa working with Power FM, Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala formerly working with Radio Sapientia and Ssemakula Richard formerly working with Bukedde newspaper among others petitioned the Commission demanding for investigation into the violations against journalists’ press freedoms and rights. They also urged the Commission to take punitive measures against culprits including compensation for the victims.
The journalists alleged in their complaint that while covering both treason and murder trials of the opposition leader for Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Dr. Kizza Besigye and the 13 Peoples’ Redemption Army (PRA) suspects at high court in Kampala and Bushenyi, security forces sieged court and in an attempt to re-arrest the suspects who had been granted bail, most journalists were beaten, their equipment and valuable items like money were compulsorily confiscated and others were blocked from accessing the court premises.
A complaint file UHRC 52/2007 was opened against the Attorney General for violations of freedoms and rights of the affected journalists.
HRNJ-Uganda is concerned about the increasing restrictions on media freedoms particularly regarding the rights and liberties of expression, speech, conscience and association by the police, army and other security agencies.
“After the last hearing was adjourned under unclear circumstances, we are happy that a new date has been set and hope nothing changes this time round. It has however come way too late when most of the victims are almost losing hope for justice. It is the mandate of the commission to ensure that justice is delivered to these aggrieved journalists and to bring to book all these power stricken security agents.” Observes the HRNJ-Uganda litigation officer, Cathy Anite.