Prosecution Lacked Clarity in Framing Charges – Stella Nyanzi’s Lawyer

Dr Stella Nyanzi in court on Thursday (Photo: Zainab Ali)

Isaac Ssemakadde, the lawyer representing former Makerere University researcher, Dr Stella Nyanzi on charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication, has Thursday told court that prosecution lacked precision and clarity in describing the offences against his client.

Prosecution led by Janat Kitimbo alleges that on September 16, 2018, Nyanzi posted on her Facebook wall indecent words against President Yoweri Museveni and his late mother, Esiteeri Kokundeka, which post, according to them was intended to disturb the peace, quiet and right to privacy of the President.

Stella Nyanzi would later apply for the dismissal of the charges challenging their legality, but the State on January 10 sought to oppose her application.

While giving his rejoinder before  Buganda Road court Grade One Magiste, Gladys Kamasanyu on Thursday, Ssemakadde argued that there was abrogation of rules at different stages of criminal proceedings in this case.

‘’The State prosecutor failed to appreciate the rules in framing charges and the societal values protected by those rules. The rules of framing of charges and conducting fair investigations are not mere suggestions, are not just requests or proposals from which the Police can pick and choose on a case by case basis,’’ Ssemakadde argued.

He said there are strict tenets of the law that must be obeyed and applied by the Police and the Prosecutors consistently respecting the rights of each and every Ugandan under the law, but that this was not observed.

‘’In this particular case, we saw an abrogation of these rules on any stage of the criminal proceedings from arrest, detention, interrogation, framing of charges, plea taking and trial or an attempt to commence a trial,’’ Ssemakadde later told journalists after the court session.

He added that the manner in which the State has handled the case is another testament to the State’s repression against its opponents.

The case has been adjourned to February 15 for ruling.

Asked about Nyanzi’s health situation in regard to the alleged miscarriage while in prison, Ssemakadde said that the University researcher has not yet allowed access to post abortal care and management, access to her health records and access to emergency private treatment by the Uganda Prison service.

He said the Uganda Human Rights Commission began investigations into the matter to avail her justice.

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