Lawyers demand release of social media critic

Robert Shaka

KAMPALA- Lawyers representing social media government critic Robert Shaka have asked court to direct the police to unconditionally release him or present him before court after spending more than three days in custody.

Shaka was arrested on Monday by Special Investigations Division detectives and has been in detention beyond the mandatory 48 hours. Police suspected Shaka to be the person posing as Tom Voltaire Okwalinga, a government critic, on social media platforms.

Mr Shaka’s lawyer, Mr Nicholas Opiyo, said the application for his release was filed at Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

“His detention is unlawful that is why we made an application to court,” Mr Opiyo said yesterday.
It is alleged that Mr Shaka, using computers and other electronic devices, issued offensive communications against the sovereign state of Uganda, bringing it into hatred and contempt and accordingly, committing the offence of promotion of sectarianism contrary to Section 41 of the Penal Code Act.

Police also allege that he used computers and other electronic devices to issue offensive communication against President Museveni, Janet Museveni, Gen Kale Kayihura, the police chief, and others contrary to Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act.

Despite Mr Shaka being in detention, Tom Voltaire Okwalinga’s social media platforms are still operational and more comments are being posted.

“…Without access to any form of electronic gadgetry, the said TVO continues to operate his/her social media account embarrassingly exposing the baselessness of the police accusations and premise for his arrest,” Mr Opiyo said.

He said a delegation of Mr Shaka’s employers, the US Embassy, visited and talked to him yesterday at SID.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga when contacted, declined to comment, saying it is only the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura who can talk about the issue.
Efforts to reach Gen Kayihura on his known mobile phones were futile.


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