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Ugandan businesswoman sentenced to prison for assaulting radio journalist

Facebook.com/sautifm/

This statement was originally published on hrnjuganda.org on 15 March 2017.

A businesswoman in Kayunga District, Naluwa Rose, has been convicted and sentenced to a one year jail term by the Magistrates' Court at Kayunga, for assaulting Sauti FM journalist Mukiibi Sula.

"I have critically analyzed the evidence submitted by the prosecution and the defence and therefore find the accused person guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm,” Grade Magistrate One, Akello Irene, told a fully packed court.

“Since the convict is a first time offender, this court will not sentence her to the maximum sentence provided by law but instead to a one year custodial sentence,” Akello said.

Speaking after the judgment, the cheerful Mukiibi told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda; “[I] am so happy that I have finally got justice. This should serve as an example to other people who beat up journalists in the course of their duties.”

On 4 June 2015, Mukiibi Sula, a Sauti FM journalist was beaten by Naluwa Rose as he was going to cover a story of a land wrangle.

Mukiibi – who was on his way home at about 6:30 pm – found people gathered by the road side at Kyampisi Village, Kayunga District. He decided to inquire four ladies, who were seated across the road, to ascertain what was happening.

To his bewilderment, the convict Naluwa Rose pounced on him and started beating him accusing him of being a spy. He sustained injuries on the back and the neck. He reported the matter to Bukoloto police station which arrested Naluwa on 25 February 2016.

Prosecution led by Nansubuga Betty adduced evidence in court that on 4 June 2015, Mukiibi was beaten by Naluwa while covering a suspected land wrangle at Kyampisi village. The crime carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

On Friday, 10 March 2017, the Grade One Magistrate, Buganda Road Court, Kamasanyu Gladys, sentenced a senior police officer, Joram Mwesigye, to a fine of one million shilling for assaulting Andrew Lwanga of formerly WBS TV.

Lwanga now walks with support of clutches as result of the beatings by the police officer. The court directed Joram to compensate the journalist with five million Uganda shillings. HRNJ-Uganda has promised to work with the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution to appeal against the sentence.

“We are pleased by the decision taken by the Magistrate to convict and sentence the journalist's attacker. This is the only way we can fight impunity in Uganda. This should serve as an example to other people who violate journalists' rights,” said HRNJ National Coordinator Robert Ssempala.

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