Uganda: Wife Blocked From Seeing Detained Kabuleta

The wife of veteran journalist Joseph Kabuleta was yesterday blocked from seeing her husband, who has been in detention at Special Investigations Division at Kireka since last Friday.

Ms Rebecca Kabuleta, who is pregnant, said she was last allowed to see her husband on Saturday when she visited him at Kireka with the family lawyers but added that they were not allowed to chat with him.

Police only allowed them to greet him and when they tried to talk to him, he told them he was under strict instructions not to speak anything.

When she and the lawyers returned to Kireka yesterday, they were not allowed to see Mr Kabuleta.

"We have a legal right to see him, but we were denied access. I last saw him on Saturday. It is emotionally trying," Ms Kabuleta said.

Mr Aggrey Mpora, Mr Kabuleta's lwayer, said: "When he was brought into the room. He told us that he had been instructed not talk to us. We were there to just look at him."

Mr Mpora said they would go to court if his client is not released or taken to court since he has been in detention for more than 48 hours, contrary to provisions of the Constitution.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga said they were only delayed by the Director of Public Prosecutions who had not sanctioned the case file.

"We are waiting to see the DPP's advice on how we should proceed with the case," Mr Enanga said yesterday.

When Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth Ochola took over office last year, he issued directives that officers must observe human rights and freedom of suspects including allowing them access to their family and legal representation as provided for in the Constitution.

"You have no right to take away the rights of another person," Mr Ochola said last year.

Mr Kabuleta was arrested on Friday evening and detained on charges of offensive communication against President Museveni.

Plain-clothed security personnel arrested him from a restaurant at Forest Mall in Lugogo, Kampala.

The security personnel also arrested Mr Godwin Matsiko, who was with Mr Kabuleta, on allegations of obstruction of justice.

Mr Matsiko was accused of trying to flee with Mr Kabuleta's phones.

Police released him yesterday on bond but he declined to speak to the press following warning from security personnel that he could be re-arrested and detained.

Mr Kabuleta has been publishing articles on his social media accounts about alleged succession battle raging within the ruling NRM.

Mr Museveni, the NRM chairman has been in power for 33 years.

Cases of activists and politicians being arrested on offensive communication of the Computer Misuse Act against government officials are on the rise.

Music promoter Mr Andrew Bajjo Mukasa was detained but later released on bail on Thursday on charges of offensive communication.

Dr Stella Nyanzi, former research fellow at Makerere University, is in prison on similar charges after she published articles on social media about President Museveni, his late mother and the First Lady.

Law says

Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011 on offensive communication states that: "Any person who wilfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication whether or not a conversation ensues commits a misdemeanour and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty four currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both". Twenty four currency points is an equivalent of Shs480,000.

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