18 March 2014

Uganda: Security Guard Sentenced to Four Years for Assaulting Red Pepper Journalist

press release

A security guard, Kemba Azizi, 26 years of age, has been sentenced to four (4) years imprisonment for assaulting a Red Pepper journalist, Solomon Hamala.

"Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. I therefore find the accused guilty of assault contrary to Section 236 of the Penal Code Act and since he has been remorseful, he is sentenced to four years in jail," Iganga Grade One Magistrate, Sylvia Nvanungi said in her judgment.

Prosecution alleged that on January 13, 2014, Kemba Azizi assaulted journalist Solomon Hamala as he covered women traders in Iganga who were protesting their proposed eviction from the taxi park by the Iganga Municipal Council.

Prosecution further alleged that the accused - together with another security guard, Isiko Yakubu, now on the run - hit Hamala on the head using a baton and bicycle padlock before dragging him on the tarmac for over twenty meters.

"We are very happy about this judgment, it will be a lesson to the security personnel and the general public who continuously use their powers wrongly and cause harm to innocent people, especially journalists. We appeal to police to make sure that Isiko is arrested and face justice as well," said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.

 - Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda

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