3 Prison Warders Remanded for Assaulting Journalists

1644 Views Kalisizo, Uganda

In short
Three prison warders attached to Kalisizo Government Prison in Rakai district have been remanded for allegedly assaulting journalists. The officers, Robert Ssemata, Frank Kyomwiru and Alex Mukasa, allegedly assaulted two journalists on March 18 this year.

Three prison warders attached to Kalisizo Government Prison in Rakai district have been remanded for allegedly assaulting journalists.

The officers are Robert Ssemata, Frank Kyomwiru and Alex Mukasa.

It is alleged that the suspects, while at Kalisizo Prisons on March 18th this year, assaulted Pascal Lutabi, a Daily Monitor journalist and John Bosco Mulyowa of Vision group while they reported on the escape of several inmates from prison.
A medical report issued by Dr. Grace Kyasimire of Kisa Medical Centre shows that Lutabi sustained bodily injuries.  The two journalists also lost their cameras and recorders after the prison warders allegedly confiscated and destroyed them.

On Thursday, the trio appeared before Susan Awidi, the Kalisizo Grade Two Magistrate and was charged with two counts of assaulting the journalists while in line of duty, confiscating their gadgets and damaging them maliciously.

Prosecution led by Rachael Namazzi, the Resident State Attorney claimed that on March 18, the suspects pounced on the journalists and beat them seriously instead of explaining to them circumstances under which inmates escaped from Kalisizo prison. She explained that investigations are complete and several witnesses have been lined up to pin the suspects on both assault and malicious damage to property.

Namazzi also asked court not to grant the suspects bail because the state was ready to start their trial right away. She explained that since they had already snubbed court summons last month, they did not deserve any bail.

However, the trio pleaded not guilty to the charges and asked for bail. Robert Ssemata, one of the suspects asked court to grant them bail since they are still employees of the government of Uganda under Uganda Prisons Services. Ssemata explained that because they are still working at Kalisizo Government prison, they can easily be traced since they sleep within the prison premises. Frank Kyomwiru, another suspect presented Simon Lukyamuzi, his brother, as a surety to get bail.

But the Magistrate denied them bail and remanded them to Kalisizo Government Prison. Magistrate Awidi explained that the suspects failed to present eligible sureties and court could not release them on bail. She argued that until they present eligible sureties, court shall not release them because she is not sure they would not jump bail.

Both Pascal Lutabi and John Bosco Mulyowa, the victims of the violent attack were in court alongside a team of officials from Human Rights Network for Journalists which is pushing the criminal case against the prison warders.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.