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Ugandan journalist charged with assault after questioning arrest of produce dealer

The police at Old Kampala station, on 22nd November, 2013 arrested a journalist, Kyambadde Sam, working with a private radio station, Metro FM, and charged him with assault for following up and questioning the arrest of a suspected businessman, at Bakuli, a Kampala suburb.

“Police arrested an agricultural produce dealer at Bakuli; I followed the matter up to Old Kampala police station to get the details. As I interviewed the suspect, a policeman in civilian clothes came and started recording the interview, when I asked to know who he was, he threatened me with arrest. He called in two other officers both in civilian clothes, who arrested and detained me for close to two hours. I recorded a statement, and [was] released on bond. They charged me with assault.” Kyambadde told HRNJ-Uganda.

Kyambadde was released upon the intervention of HRNJ-Uganda, the station's police commander (DPC) and other journalists. He is expected to report back at police on Monday 25th November, 2013.

The Uganda Police Force has been ranked the worst perpetrators of violence against media practitioners for the last five years, although none of the culprits have been brought to book.

“The assault case against Kyambadde is a trumped up charge aimed at intimidating the journalist. The police must drop it and also stop using such charges to intimidate and scare away journalists and the public from questioning their actions,” said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.

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