Friday, 24 May 2013

Ugandan Activists Arrested

 Photo Journalist Tim McCarthy and
SMUG Executive Director Frank Mugisha

Yesterday, dramatic footage was released of a peaceful protest in favour of a free media, which ended tragically as police brutally attacked protesters. After running for cover, the last words on the footage are those of a protester begging police to relax: "okay, okay, okay - please, please, please."

Several of the protesters were also from the LGBT community:

We attended the demonstration to support a free press. As LGBTI people we know that we are the ones often denied media access, so we went in support of the media. Hopefully, the larger straight society will see that LGBTI Ugandans support all forms of rights and that LGBTI people should be equally supported by them.

Another article, by Ugandan LGBT Activists Arrested While Protesting Media Censorship explains:

...several LGBT Ugandans and an American photojournalist joined other demonstrators in a peaceful rally demanding freedom of the press. The activists held a mock funeral procession for the independent radio outlets and newspapers that were recently shuttered by Ugandan officials, but police attacked the protesters, injuring photojournalist Tim McCarthy, and arrested Ugandan LGBT activists Richard Lusimbo and Komugisha Shawn.

The latest report provided to The Advocate notes that Lusimbo and Shawn are both still in jail, along with three other human rights activists who were arrested. LGBT advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda is at the jail, working to get the activists released. SMUG indicated that Lusimbo's hand was injured by police and reported that Shawn was in need of emergency medical attention.  

Komugisha managed to Facebook:

being charged with unlawful assembly.... our lawyers are here now going to make statements

We will continue to report on this.

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