Police in Uganda detain Journalist for photographing suspect in Court

June 24, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

Court-uganda

 

By

Robert Ssewankambo

A court reporter working with the Vision Group media outlet, Betty Amamukirori was last week arrested by police at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, in the suburb of Ugandan capital city Kampala, for photographing a suspect during a court break.

Betty told local press that she was arrested by the police upon photographing a suspect, 64 year old Patrick James Bamwise Kakaire, convicted of a land matter in which he converted family land into his names without the authority of the 22 beneficiaries. The presiding Judge Paul Mugamba convicted him to a UGX4.5million fine or to serve four years imprisonment.

Betty was detained for almost 2 hours on the orders of Bamwise’s daughter, (said to be an employee of the Ugandan Parliament), in a bid to force her to delete the photos. Betty said that the police officers at the court tried to intimidate her to surrender the camera but declined. “The police were ordering me to delete the photo, they threatened to undress me and search everywhere for the camera which I had used to take the convict’s photo. I identified myself to them twice as a Vision Group reporter, but they continued harassing me on (the daughter’s) orders. The police were not helpful at all” Betty told press at the Court soon after her release.

Another court reporter, Veronica Kayaga, who witnessed the incident, told Journalists that much as the court clerk explained to the police that what the journalist had done was okay since the photo was taken during a court break, they were defiant and continued to force Betty to delete said photo.

Following Betty’s refusal to delete the photos in question and subsequent harassment by the authorities, she was later released without charge.

 

 

 

 

 

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Robert Ssewankambo

Robert Ssewankambo is a Ugandan writer. Working currently on a freelance basis, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers in Uganda and electronic online magazines and media sources in Africa, such as the Bukedde newspaper, Hindered radio, Red Pepper, Eddobozzi newspaper and African Interest online.

For media enquiries, contact Robert at the following email address: sewankamborobert@gmail.com

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