Not-so-free-press: Andrew Mwenda (and others) arrested
“We think the government is not happy with a story The Independent published in a recent issue exposing atrocities committed by government forces during the war.” — Bob Kasango, legal counsel for The Independent
“Ugandan security forces on Saturday raided the offices of a magazine seen as critical of President Yoweri Museveni’s government, arresting three journalists [including managing editor Andrew Mwenda] and taking computers.”
From Mwenda himself, as reported in the Independent:
“There were not witnesses around…I realised the state wanted me to disappear without a trace, so I opened the car window and shouted at people along the road that ‘I was Andrew Mwenda being kidnapped by CMI.’ At this point, the security operatives pulled me back and this time handcuffed me so that I did not cause more trouble….As we drove towards [an] airstrip, I saw a waiting military helicopter which had just landed there and I was thinking whether [President Yoweri] Museveni himself had ordered to see me but wanted me to arrive to him with intimidation. There were many PGB soldiers guarding the place. The other alternative I thought the helicopter was maybe intended to take me to Gulu and kill me from there.”
Three weeks ago Andrew Mwenda, his office, and colleagues were subjected to a similar raid. We can keep an eye on the Andrew Mwenda page to see how this unfolds. Also check out our “Press Freedom” tag for similar posts, including one which argues, in small part, freedom of the press is not always a good thing.
“I was being charged with the crime of ‘committing journalism.’ One of my captors, Detective Inspector Dani Rangwani, described the offense to me as something despicable, almost hissing the words: ‘You’ve been gathering, processing and disseminating the news.’” — Bearak