UPDATES: A Ugandan Author Has Been Charged With Cyber Stalking The President.

 UPDATES: A Ugandan Author Has Been Charged With Cyber Stalking The President.

 

Kampala – According to their lawyer, Ugandan author and activist Norman Tumuhimbise and a female journalist have been charged with cyber-stalking the country’s president. Tumuhimbise is the second writer to be arrested by the authorities in recent months.

Tumuhimbise, the leader of the local pressure group The Alternative Movement as well as the online media portal Alternative Digitalk TV, was set to release a book critical of President Yoweri Museveni on March 30.

The 36-year-old was one of nine journalists detained last week for making inappropriate statements. According to his lawyer, Eron Kiiza, seven people were released without charges.

“Norman Tumuhimbise and his colleague, Farida Bikobere, who works with him at Digitalk TV, were charged with cyber-stalking the president,” Kiiza told AFP.

Following Wednesday’s hearing, “The two denied the charges and were remanded to Luzira prison until March 21,” he said, referring to a maximum-security facility in the capital Kampala.

“Both were tortured like the other journalists with whom they were arrested.”

Prosecutors claim Tumuhimbise and Bikobere exploited their online platform to spread “offensive communication… intended against the person of the President of Uganda,” according to court documents seen by AFP.

Last week, armed security agents allegedly bundled Tumuhimbise and his colleagues into a vehicle, with Kiiza stating that police also confiscated phones, laptops, recorders, and cameras from the media outlet.

Tumuhimbise is the second writer in recent months to be charged with insulting communication.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, an award-winning Ugandan author, escaped to Germany last month for medical treatment after allegedly being tortured during his arrest on allegations of insulting Museveni and his son.

The detention of Rukirabashaija sparked international outrage, with the European Union and the United States both asking for his release.

Rukirabashaija was charged with making derogatory remarks about Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his influential son Muhoozi Kainerugaba on Twitter.

He called Kainerugaba, a general who many Ugandans believe is preparing to succeed his 77-year-old father, “huge” and a “curmudgeon” in one of his posts.

Journalists have been attacked, lawyers have been imprisoned, election monitors have been punished, and opposition leaders have been violently muzzled in Uganda.

Under the computer usage statute, Tumuhimbise and Bikobere face a year in prison and/or a fine if convicted.

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