SHAKA ARREST: Lawyers Rush to Court

Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo

Lawyers representing detained social media activist Robert Shaka have petitioned Nakawa Magistrate’s Court to order the immediate release of their client, search Chimp Corps report.

They claim Shaka has so far been detained at the police SIU headquarters in Kireka for more than 48 hours without being produced before court.

Human Rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told journalists at Chapter Four offices in Kampala on Wednesday that their client’s detention is “unlawful”.

He said Shaka should be released or officially charged to enable lawyers prepare his defence.

“We invite the Uganda Police Force to own up the detention of Shaka and allow him time to meet his family since his case is neither a felony nor a capital offence,” Opiyo argued.

Opiyo described as an “absurdity” police’s failure to state the offence for which Shaka was arrested and detained on Monday morning.

Robert Shaka at SIU headquarters in Kireka on Tuesday

Robert Shaka at SIU headquarters in Kireka on Tuesday

“According to the charge and caution statement administered, police points out two reasons for his arrest; that using computers and other electronic devices, Shaka issued offensive communications against the sovereign state of Uganda, brought it into hatred and contempt and accordingly committing the offence of promotion of sectarianism contrary to section 41 of the Penal Code Act.”

To this effect, Opiyo said he found it “unreasonable that police are using an act that is currently challenged before the Supreme Court” to have his client detained.

“The second offence laid down is that using computers and other electronic devices, Shaka issued offensive communication against president Yoweri Museveni, Janet Museveni, Kale Kayihura, a one ‘Mbabazi’ and a one ‘Kelen’ thereby committing the offence of offensive communication contrary to section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act.”

Opiyo said he found it disturbing the charge and caution statement describes his client as Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (TVO) who has for long been hunted by police for defaming government through different social media platforms.

He remarked that Mr. Shaka was first arrested in February, 2015 over the same allegations and has since then been reporting without fail at the CIID headquarters, particularly to the media offences unit that had granted him police bond as it investigates the allegations against him.

“As Mr. Shaka remains in detention without access to any form of electronic gadgetry, the said TVO continues to operate his/ her social media account, embarrassingly exposing the baselessness of the police accusations and premise for his arrest.”

“The actions taken by police are seen as a direct front and a watershed against freedom of expression especially to the new media; we are however ready to defend Shaka until he is acquitted of any charge.”


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