Stella Nyanzi case stalls as prosecution fails to turn up in court

Stella Nyanzi (left) is battling charges related to offensive communication. Photo by Badru Afunadula.

KAMPALA–Makerere University researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi’s has become the latest victim of the ongoing sit-down strike by State prosecutors.

Despite the hearing of her case being scheduled for 9am, Stella Nyanzi arrived at Court as early as 7am hoping for the hearing of her case.

To her disappointment, the Resident State Attorney, Jonathan Muwaganya, who was supposed to inform court on the position of the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether to proceed and try Stella Nyanzi for offensive communication against the Person of the President never turned up as a result of the ongoing strike by prosecutors.

Chief Magistrate James Eremye adjourned the case to November 24.

When the matter last came up on July 21, Muwaganya wanted the Magistrate to wait for the outcome of a petition Stella Nyanzi’s filed in the constitutional court challenging the Mental Treatment Act, a request that was rejected by the magistrate following contestation from the defense lawyer, Peter Walubiri.

Walubiri demanded that prosecution either presents its first witness or have the matter withdrawn, if the intention of the State in preferring these charges is not to have his client declared insane.

Eremye thus asked Muwaganya to first consult the DPP with the response being expected in court today.

Stella Nyanzi was present in court but with no lawyer to also represent her. Nyanzi says she cannot be subjected to the Mental Treatment Act of 1938, which was enacted during colonial era with an intention of subjecting suspects to compulsory Mental Treatment.

She wants the constitutional court to pronounce itself on this law and have it scrapped.

Nyanzi was arrested early this year and charged with cyber-harassment and offensive communication for using her “Facebook posts to disturb President Museveni’s privacy”, including calling him “a pair of buttocks”.



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