Gov’t dragged to court over arrest of Digitalk TV journalists

The Ugandan government has been dragged to court to have the nine arrested journalists belonging to Digitalk TV unconditionally released.

The offices of Digitalk TV , an online television in Makidnye were last week raided by security and several members including activist Norman Tumuhimbise, Arnold Mukose, Faridah Bikobere, Jeremiah Mukiibi, Tumusiime Kato, Lilian Luwedde, Teangel Nabukeera, Rogers Turyahabwe and Jeje Wabyona arrested.

On Monday, the group’s lawyers led by Eron Kiiza petitioned the High Court civil division in Kampala seeking for orders for mandatory and unconditional release of the group that has been in detention for more than the mandatory 48hours.

An affidavit by one Innocent Ainebyona indicates that the offices of Alternative Digitalk , an online television was raided by armed police and military men on March,10 at around 3pm before arresting nine journalists.

“The said joint security team arrested the entire media house comprising the nine applicants, searched the media house’s premises and confiscated media equipment including cameras, media van, phones, personal computers, laptops, books, hard disks, external hard drives, recorders, CDs and other journalistic equipment,” the affidavit reads in part.

In the affidavit, it is said the nine were later bundled into a waiting numberless mini-bus and whisked away to the Special Investigations Division in Kireka where they remain up to now.

However, it is said that lawyers and family members have since been denied access to the group.

“Since their arrest, they have been held incommunicado at Kireka Special Investigations Division in defiance of the Constitution and other Ugandan laws for over 48 hours. The arrest and search were both without warrants,” the application reads in part.

In the application, court has been asked to order the mandatory and unconditional release of the nine journalists since their rights have been violated by being arrested and detained beyond the mandatory 48 hours.

In the application, the Attorney General, IGP John Martins Okoth Ochola and ACP Francis Olugu, the commandant of the Special Investigations Division in Kireka have been listed as respondents.

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