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Ugandans Celebrate Acquittal of Popular Activist Stella Nyanzi

There was dram and excitement as a Ugandan court on Thursday acquitted popular activist Stella Nyanzi, ordering her immediate release from jail.

Nyanzi had been sentenced to 18 months in jail, finding her guilty of cyber-harassment. In September 2018, the 45-year-old university lecturer had refereed to the private parts of president Yoweri Museveni’s deceased mother.

Gladys Kamasanyu, the magistrate who convicted her said the ‘obscene and indecent’ verse Nyanzi posted should never have been shared in the public domain and included suggestions which ‘could only be made by an immoral person.’

Nyanzi appealed her conviction and Appeals judge Henry Peter Adonyo accepted Nyanzi’s argument that she did not get a fair hearing and trial in violation of the constitution.

Adonyo faulted the lower court saying it had no jurisdiction to try the case, and did not give Nyanzi enough time to prepare her defence.

“Why was I in prison for more than one year? I want to know. What is wrong with courts which abuse…the rights and freedoms that are constitutionally provided for?” Nyanzi said after the decision.

Her supporters were involved in a scuffle with prisons officers who tried to take Nyanzi back to jail. She fainted during the melee and was eventually taken to a nearby car which drove off.

 

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Written by MT

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