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Journalist's home searched

(HRNJ-Uganda/IFEX) - On the afternoon of 4 August 2010, Kampala police searched the residence of the embattled "Uganda Record" journalist Timothy Kalyegira, who is facing charges of sedition.

Since 2 August, Kalyegira has been in and out of police custody on allegations of publishing seditious materials on the "Uganda Record" website. "Uganda Record" is one of Uganda's online magazines.

Police allege that Kalyegira published seditious materials between 12 and 16 July 2010 after several bomb blasts that claimed more than 70 lives.

Section 39 (3) of the penal Code Act (Cap. 120) states that in determining whether an act, speech or article is seditious, the individual's conduct and circumstances at the time will be considered.

However, section 40 states that seditious offences shall include occurrences of anyone who prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication among others. The punishment is five years' imprisonment or a fine not exceeding 50,000 Ugandan shillings (approx. US$ 25) or both.

The police travelled by private car to Kalyegira's home, which is located in the Makindye Lusaka Zone, local council one (I). They conducted a search of the master bedroom and study room, which took an hour. "The search seemed to be a general search. They confiscated my passport after I was asked whether I had travelled outside the country, as well as my laptop, internet modem and a six-paged handwritten document," Kalyegira said. Police also wanted to take a cassette recorder.

The search team was headed by divisional CID officer (Kira police station) Prudence Haguma.

Kalyegira's bond was extended and he is required to report to police on 6 August at 10 a.m.

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