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Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention and release of Mr. Gerald Kankya

UGA 001 / 0315 / OBS 024Arrest / Judicial harassmentUgandaMarch 26, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Uganda.

Description of the situation : The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest detention and release of Mr. Gerald Kankya, Executive Director of the Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC), which, since 2006, has been working to combat unlawful evictions from public community land. According to the information received, in the morning of March 24, 2015, Mr. Gerald Kankya was arrested upon his arrival at the Fort Portal Police Station, where he came to visit an land activist who was detained the day before. It was reported that Mr. Kankya was arrested on allegations of assaulting a journalist earlier this year. This refers to an argument in January 2015 between Mr. Kankya, his colleague Mr. Simon Amanyire and Mr. Rodger Martin, manager of programs at Better FM, a local radio station, after the latter attempted to cancel a scheduled program produced by TLC. Although, Mr. Martin confirmed to the police that the argument was purely verbal, and that he had no intention to proceed with a criminal complaint, the police decided to file the case to the Court on charges of “simple assault”. Mr. Kankya appeared before the Magistrates Court on March 24, 2015 and was released on a 50,000 Uganda Shillings (approximately 15 Euro) bail with two sureties of 20,000 Uganda shillings (approximately 6 Euro) each. The next hearing is scheduled on March 31, 2015. TLC broadcasts weekly programs on human rights education, performs capacity building to enhance the ability of human rights defenders to perform their activities in the region, provides civic education, monitors and documents human rights violations, and challenges unlawful government actions in court. Lately, TLC has been running a petition campaign to the President Mr. Yoweri Museveni against Queen Mother Best Kemigisa Nursery, Primary and Vocational School, a private commercial project developed on land grabbed from illegal expropriations. In 2012, Mr. Gerald Kankya received the European Union Human Rights Defender Award in Uganda. The Observatory recalls that in a separate case, on January 23, 2015, Messrs. Gerald Kankya and Simon Amanyire were assaulted by approximatively 30 men wearing Queen Mother Best Kemigisa Nursery, Primary and Vocational Schools traffic reflectors jackets, armed with clubs and allegedly commanded by the District Police commander Mr. Geoffrey Kahebwa and another police officer. Despite Mr. Kankya's grievous harm, medically ascertained, the police refused to record his complaint[1]. In relation to this incident,Mr. Kankya is being prosecuted for “grave assault”. Granted a 500,000 Uganda Shillings (approximately 153 Euro) bail with two sureties of 100,000 Uganda Shillings (approximately 30 Euro) each, he is summoned to appear in Court on April 7, 2015. The Observatory expresses its deepest concerns about the judicial harassment of Mr. Gerald Kankya and fears that he is being targeted as a result of his human rights activities. Therefore, the Observatory calls upon authorities in Uganda to immediately drop all charges against him.

Action requested: Please write to the authorities in Uganda, urging them to: i. Put an end to all kinds of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Gerald Kankya, as well as of all human rights defenders in Uganda; ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Gerald Kankya, as well as all human rights defenders in Uganda, including those addressing land-related issues; iii. Order an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the beating of Messrs. Gerald Kankya and Amanyire on January 23, 2015, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided by the law; iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially: - Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”; - Article 5, which underscores the right of every individual to form, join, and participate in non-governmental organizations; and - Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”; v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Uganda.

Addresses: · President Kaguta Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, Office of the President of Uganda, State House Nakasero, P.O. Box 24594, Kampala, Uganda. Fax: +256 (0) 414 436 102 / + 256 41 4235459 / +256 41 4344012. E-mail: / · Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Kahinda Otafiire, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Parliament Avenue, P.O.Box 7183, Kampala, Uganda. Fax: + 256 41 4250829. E-Mail: · Mr. Mike Chibita, Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice, Constitutional Affairs & the Attorney General, Tel: +256-414-332-502/332-504, Fax: +256-414-258-565/341-316, Email: · Minister of Internal Affairs, Hilary Onek, Jinja Rd, PO Box 7191, Kampala, Uganda. Fax: + 256 414343088 · Dr. Steven Kasiima, Inspector General of Police, Telephone: +256 (0) 712 755 999 · H.E. Mr. Christopher Onyanga Aparr, Permanent Mission of Uganda to the United Nations in Geneva, 6 bis rue Antoine Carteret, 1202 Genève, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 340 70 30. Email: · Embassy of Uganda to the EU in Brussels, 317 avenue de Tervueren, 1150 Woluwe- Saint-Pierre, Belgium. Fax : + 32 2.763.04.38. Email: Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Uganda in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Uganda.


Paris-Geneva, March 26, 2015 Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply. The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.orgTel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
[1] See Observatory Urgent Appeal UGA 001 / 0215 / OBS 010, February 13, 2015.
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