Lawyers Drag Gov’t To Court Over Continued Detention Of Digitalk Journalists

Lawyers Drag Gov't To Court Over Continued Detention Of Digitalk Journalists

Some Of Digitalk Journalists under detention

By Uganda Online Media

Kampala: A group of lawyers has dragged the government of Uganda to court over the nine journalists belonging to Digitalk TV who were arrested last week thus demanding their unconditional release.

The offices of Digitalk TV, an online television in Makidnye were last week raided by security and several members including activist Norman Tumuhimbise, Arnold Mukose, Faridah Bikobere, Jeremiah Mukiibi, Tumusiime Kato, Lilian Luwedde, Teangel Nabukeera, Rogers Turyahabwe and Jeje Wabyona were arrested and the government has been mute about their whereabouts and the reasons behind their arrest.

On Monday, the group’s lawyers led by Eron Kiiza petitioned the High Court civil division in Kampala seeking orders for the mandatory and unconditional release of the group that has been in detention for more than the mandatory 48hours.

An affidavit by one Innocent Ainebyona indicates that the offices of Alternative Digitalk, an online television was raided by armed police and military men on March,10 at around 3 pm before arresting nine journalists.

“The said joint security team arrested the entire media house comprising the nine applicants, searched the media house’s premises and confiscated media equipment including cameras, media van, phones, personal computers, laptops, books, hard disks, external hard drives, recorders, CDs and other journalistic equipment,” the affidavit reads in part.

In the affidavit, it is said the nine were later bundled into a waiting numberless mini-bus and whisked away to the Special Investigations Division in Kireka where they remain up to now.

However, it is said that lawyers and family members have since been denied access to the group.

“Since their arrest, they have been held incommunicado at Kireka Special Investigations Division in defiance of the Constitution and other Ugandan laws for over 48 hours. The arrest and search were both without warrants,” the application reads in part.

In the application, the court has been asked to order the mandatory and unconditional release of the nine journalists since their rights have been violated by being arrested and detained beyond the mandatory 48 hours.

In the application, the Attorney General, IGP John Martins Okoth Ochola, and ACP Francis Olugu, the commandant of the Special Investigations Division in Kireka have been listed as respondents.

According to Police spokesperson Fred Enanga, they got a complaint the group was involved in offensive communication and promoting hate speech,

”They are with the police at the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka (a suburb of the capital Kampala) as investigations are continuing,” Enanga confirmed.

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