Ugandan journalists under the Online Media Publishers’ Association (OMPA) have condemned police’s arrest and lengthy detention of a colleague, Mr Ronald Nahabwe.
Mr Nahabwe of the Capital Times ( www.thecapitaltimes.co.ug), is being detained at Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Kireka.
He was arrested on Monday this week following publication on his site, of a story about a confidential letter authored by a church leader to President Yoweri Museveni.
Giles Muhame, the Online Media Publishers’ Association president says the body was concerned that Nahabwe has been in detention for more than 72 hours without being produced before a competent court of law.
“It is our understanding that the police are in the meantime subjecting him to coercive means so that he can reveal his sources. The Online Media Publishers’ Association strongly condemns the abuse of Mr. Nahabwe’s rights and wishes to remind the Uganda Police Force that journalism is not a crime.”
Muhame says the association demands that Nahabwe is allowed access to legal counsel and immediately produced before courts of law or released unconditionally, if there are no credible charges against him.
“While we continue to assess the matter, we take this opportunity to reiterate to all Ugandans, including those in positions of authority, that #JournalismIsNotACrime,”he added.
CID spokesman Charlese Twine when contacted, said the police was working round the clock to process Nahabwe’s case.
Twine confirmed that Mr Nahabwe would be released today Thursday, whether or not the charges have been fully processed.
“He (Nahabwe) is not just a journalist; he is also our friend. We are cognizant of his rights as a Ugandan; and even if we fail to exhaust all the remaining issues; we shall have him bonded today. There is no cause of alarm; we are not vindicating the media fraternity. We are just holding him on allegations. This therefore should not jeopardize our relationship with the media,” Twine said
The Police spokesman also dismissed assertions that Nahabwe had been subjected to physical torture, saying no such thing ever happens at the Kireka facility.