KAMPALA – An international photojournalist attached to Reuters media agency, James Akena has dragged the government to court over the battering he endured in the hands of UPDF soldiers.
In his lawsuit filed that was filed before the High Court, Akena is seeking for approximately UGX100million from Government as compensation for his lost property plus medical treatment for the injuries he sustained when UPDF soldiers unlawfully arrested and flogged him during the course of his duties.
Akena alleges that this horrific incident occured on August, 20 in 2018 when he was deployed in Kiseka Market to cover protests against the arrest and detention of Kyadondo East MP; Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu alias Bobi Wine.
He says he had his identification tag and camera with him and he was in the company of his fellow journalists.
According to court documents, after a few minutes of firing live bullets, 3 men clad in the official UPDF concealment uniform singled him out and started beating him up despite showing them his identification tag and putting up his hands which is a renowned signal to surrender.
He says that he was later bundled up and put in a vehicle with several other people and driven to Qualicel bus terminal, where the battering continued until when he was later set free.
Akena says in that scuffle, he lost his money amounting to UGX 3.9 million, a watch, smartphone, and a camera worth UGX 28 million were destroyed.
The journalist adds that on top of losing his earnings worth UGX 65, 250, 000 for the period he spent on bed rest, he allegedly spent UGX 7.2 million to treat his back injuries which he sustained.
He says he was hospitalized at Kampala Independent hospital and an extra UGX 600, 000 was spent on transport since he would regularly commute to the hospital from Ntinda to receive treatment.
Through his lawyers; AF Mpanga and Solicitors, Akena says he is entitled to damages which include aggravated and punitive damages for which the government is vicariously liable.
He also wants a public apology.