Tuesday May 7 2013

Police start investigating Monitor journalist’s case

By Bill Oketch


The Police Professional Standards Unit, has started investigations into the case of Daily Monitor journalist Mr Emmanuel Opio.

This development comes after the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) lodged a complaint on behalf of Mr Opio early last year, in which Mr Opio alleges that he was assaulted and coerced to surrender his camera and later his photos were deleted by police officials.

Among those interrogated include North Kyoga deputy Regional Police Commander, Alfred Turumuye, Lira former Criminal Investigations Department officer Godwin Tumugumye and two junior officers at Lira Central Police Station.

Mr Opio alleges that during a demonstration by residents of Lira Town against Umeme’s constant loadshedding in 2011, his camera was confiscated and all pictures deleted. However, officers at the complaints desk declined to register his case when he went to open an assault case against the police officers. “During the demonstration, police officers grabbed my camera, deleted all the pictures I had taken when police and soldiers were beating up protestors with sticks,” Mr Opio said. He claims that he was also held for two hours.

The Lira District Police Commander, Mr Robert Ssematta, said the “allegation came up and when we wanted to follow up the matter, Mr Opio was not there”. Mr Ssematta accused journlists of unprofessionalism, saying when police officers are being pelted with stones during demonstrations, they don’t take the picture.

He accuses police officer of confiscating his camera and deleting his photos.