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Journalist questioned by police for over five hours

(HRNJ-Uganda/IFEX) - 1 September 2010 - The Uganda Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) grilled journalist Richard Mivule for over 5 hours over incitement to violence.

Mivule, who is in his 50s, hosts a mid-morning talk show on Radio Two (commonly referred to as Akaboozi) on weekdays between 9am and 11am. He was accused of having hosted an opposition member of parliament for Kampala Central division and shadow attorney general Erias Lukwago during the September 2009 riots that claimed the lives of more than 40 people.

"These cases are meant to silence and intimidate the media ahead of the 2011 general elections. The state should be reminded about its mandate to protect and uphold the right to freedom of expression and press freedom," Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) Board Chairman Robert Ssempala said.

The September 2009 riots occurred after the King of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, was blocked by the government from touring the county of Bugerere, which is one of 18 counties which make up his kingdom. Buganda are one of the biggest ethnic groups in Uganda.

Radio Two is one of the privately owned radio stations that were closed down during the demonstrations. Others included the Catholic stations Sapientia and Ssuubi fm, which have since been re-opened, and Buganda Kingdom's Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) 88.8 and 89.2fm, which remain closed to date.

Mivule was accompanied by his lawyer, Sebuliba Jordan Kiwanuka of F. Mukasa & Company Advocates. He was questioned from 11:30am to 5pm, after reaching the CID Headquarters at 9:30am. He was summoned by Moses Sakira and interrogated by a two-man team led by Detective Birungi Milton.

"I am surprised that the police interrogated me about matters spoken by another person I hosted a year ago. This is not fair but I am sure I committed no crime," Mivule said.

HRNJ-Uganda condemns the unnecessary interrogation of journalists by police.

The journalist recorded a statement and was released without charge. He will report to police on notice.

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