Law society challenges computer misuse law

Tuesday February 5 2019

Mr Simon Peter Kinobe

Mr Simon Peter Kinobe 

By Anthony Wesaka & Juliet Kigongo

Kampala- The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking the declaration of two sections of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 null and void.

The lawyers contend that sections 24 and 25 of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 curtail the freedom of expression.

According to the petition, they are seeking “a declaration that sections 24 and 25 of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011 are inconsistent with or in contravention of Article 29 (1) (a) and Article 28 (12) of the Constitution and are null and void.”

Section 24 and 25 of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011 creates the offence of cyber harassment (the use of a computer to make obscene requests or threatening to inflict injury to any person or property).

Freedom of expression
The ULS president, Mr Simon Peter Kinobe, in his affidavit supporting the petition, avers that he has been closely following the enforcement of laws in the country and citizens are being unjustifiably deprived of their freedom of expression. He warns the government of using such laws to prosecute people with opposing views.

The filing of this petition comes barely a month a when a civil society organisation, Unwanted Witness, released a report showing how journalists were the most persecuted group in cyber harassment.

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Former Makerere University research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi is in Luzira prison over related offences. Student Brian Isiko, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, musicians and ordinary citizens are part of the groups that are facing criminal charges related to cyber harassment.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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