A section of online journalists under their umbrella body, the Independent Journalists Association (INDOJA) has asked police to unconditionally release a colleague who was arrested on Monday.
Ronald Nahabwe, from Capital Times, an online publication was arrested on Monday before being detained at the Special Investigations Division in Kireka over unknown charges.
However, according to INDOJA president, Andrew Irumba, when Nahabwe presented himself to the Criminal Investigations Division headquarters he was arrested and later detained.
“The reasons for his arrest are still unclear but his lawyers report that he has been questioned about Rural Electrification Agency(REA) corruption stories and Catholic Church Archbishop Kizito Lwanga’s private letter to President Museveni that leaked to the media before the president could even read it,” Irumba said.
According to Lilian Drabo, Nahabwe’s lawyer, the journalist recorded a statement at the Criminal Investigations Division headquarters in Kibuli regarding the REA stories whereas at Kireka he was asked to record a statement about Archbishop Lwanga’s letter.
“He told me they had asked him about the source of his stories. He looked dehydrated, frail, and with red eyes, whereas his entire body looked as if he had been tortured,” Drabo said.
The lawyer noted that Nahabwe’s detention beyond the mandatory 48hours without being arraigned in any court is a violation of his right.
“We demand that he is either released on police bond or presented before a competent court,” she noted.
According to Andrew Irumba, the INDOJA president, Hannington Mbabazi, a co-director at Capital Times with Nahabwe was also arrested brutally three weeks ago by men in the military attire from his home but was later released.
Irumba alleged that the Mbabazi’s captors demanded to know his sources of REA and Archbishop Lwanga stories.
“As journalists, we are protected by law not to reveal our sources unless through a court order which they(police) don’t have so far. We however take this as a serious attack on the independence and freedoms of expression for journalists,”Irumba said.
“Journalists shoulder a pivotal societal contract with the public to collect, filter, and feed them with information for the greater good.”
When contacted for a comment on the matter, CID spokesperson, Charles Twine said he would get back to this website.
Nahabwe is the umpteenth journalist arrested by police in the course of his work
Police was in 2019 for the 10th time in a row, ranked as the top violator of journalists’ rights in the country in a report released by the Human Rights Network for Journalists.