Uganda: Release and quash conviction of writer and academic Dr. Stella Nyanzi

Update: Dr. Nyanzi’s appeal hearing was adjourned to 10 October. In the meantime, please continue to take action and help spread the word. #FreeStellaNyanzi

English PEN remains deeply concerned by the detention and conviction of Dr. Stella Nyanzi for ‘cyber harassment’ under section 24 of Uganda’s Computer Misuse Act, 2011, in relation to a poem she wrote on Facebook criticising Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni (and his mother). PEN believes Dr. Nyanzi has been prosecuted for her peaceful expression and calls on the Ugandan authorities to release her from prison immediately and unconditionally and to quash her conviction at her upcoming appeal hearing on 25 September 2019.

Dr. Nyanzi was charged in November 2018 with ‘cyber harassment’ and ‘offensive communication’ under sections 24 and 25 of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011; she was convicted of the first charge and acquitted of the second charge on 1 August 2019. She was sentenced the following day to 18 months in prison. The prosecution is appealing against the acquittal on the charge of ‘offensive communication’, which will also be heard on 25 September. As she has already spent nine months in prison, she is set to serve out the remaining time.

TAKE ACTION!

Spread the word

Share details of Dr Stella Nyanzi’s case with friends and colleagues and on social media. #FreeStellaNyanzi #PushForStellaNyanzi

Please send appeals to the Ugandan authorities:

  • Expressing concern at the conviction and sentence imposed on Dr. Nyanzi, calling on them to release her immediately and unconditionally and overturn her conviction at her appeal hearing on 25 September 2019;
  • Calling on them to repeal or amend the Computer Misuse Act (2011), which has been used to clamp down on dissent, to ensure full conformity with Uganda’s freedom of expression obligations under international law;
  • Urging them to comply with their obligations to protect freedom of expression as enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Uganda is a state party.

Send appeals to:

Mr. Mike Chibita Director of Public Prosecutions Directorate of Public Prosecutions Workers House, Plot 1 Pilkington Road Kampala, Uganda mike.chibita@dpp.go.ug

Major General (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bauman House, Plot 5, Parliament Avenue P. O. Box 7183 Kampala, Uganda Fax: +25641254829 Email: info@justice.go.ug

Please copy your appeals to the Embassy of Uganda in your country. A list of embassies can be found here.

Please reach out to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic representatives in Uganda, calling on them to raise Dr. Nyanzi’s case in bilateral fora.

Please inform PEN of any action you take and of any responses you receive.

**** Please contact us if you are considering taking action after 25 September 2019 ****

Solidarity

Solidarity is a key component of our campaign. Dr Nyanzi would welcome letters, cards and books from PEN members and supporters. If you would be interested in sending her something, please email cat@englishpen.org

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This content is published by the English PEN staff.

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