Uganda: Court to Rule On Nyanzi's Case On Feb.15

Makerere academic Stella Nyanzi.

Kampala, Uganda — Jailed Makerere University Researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi who has been in prison since December over posts she made on social media appeared again to Buganda road court last week but without applying for bail she was returned to Luzira prison until Feb.15. This is when they will rule whether she has a case to answer or not.

Earlier, the researcher through her lawyer Isaac Semakadde had raised a primary objection against the charges that they do not disclose the specific offence she allegedly committed, rendering it defective.

Nyanzi is charged with two counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication in regard to her alleged indecent communication against President Yoweri Museveni and his late mother Esiteeri Kokundeka. Prosecution led by Janat Kitimbo alleges that on September 16, 2018, Nyanzi posted indecent words against the president and his late mother on her Facebook wall. According to the prosecution, the posts were intended to disturb their peace, quiet and right to privacy.

The law provides that a person who wilfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-four currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.

In regard to cyber harassment, a person who wilfully, maliciously and repeatedly uses electronic communication to harass another person and makes a threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety commits the crime of cyberstalking and is liable to a fine or imprisonment term not exceeding five years or both.

Nyanzi was arrested in November and has never gotten bail. She recently revealed that she suffered a miscarriage while in incarceration.

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