Uganda: Anklage gegen Dr. Stella Nyanzi fallen gelassen

Stella Nyanzi (Foto: privat)

Der internationale PEN begrüßt die Nachricht, dass die prominente feministische Akademikerin und Aktivistin Dr. Stella Nyanzi am 10. Mai auf Kaution freigelassen wurde. Allerdings fordert unsere Organisation weiterhin, dass die Anklagen gegen sie sofort und bedingungslos fallen gelassen werden sollen, da sie niemals hätte verhaftet werden sollen. Dr. Nyanzi wurde am 7. April 2017 verhaftet, drei Tage später wurde ihr Cyber-Belästigung und anstößige Kommunikation vorgeworfen, da sie in ihren Facebook-Beiträgen Ugandas Präsidenten Yoweri Museveni kritisierte und beleidigt haben soll. Sie musste 33 Tage in Haft verbringen, bevor ihr Kaution gewährt wurde. Die nächste Gerichtsverhandlung steht ihr am 25. Mai 2017 bevor. Der internationale PEN geht davon aus, dass Dr. Nyanzi lediglich wegen ihrer friedlichen Meinungsäußerung inhaftiert wurde und fordert die ugandischen Behörden daher auf, die Freiheit der Meinungsäußerung zu wahren und es Dr. Nyanzi zu ermöglichen, ihren Aktivismus ungehindert fortzusetzen und die Anklagen gegen sie unterlassen werden.

Unternehmen Sie etwas: Teilen Sie den Artikel auf facebook, Twitter und anderen sozialen Netzwerken.
Bitte senden Sie Protestbriefe:

– Fordern Sie die ugandischen Behörden auf, die Anklage gegen Dr. Nyanzi sofort und bedingungslos aufzuheben

–  Fordern Sie die ugandischen Behörden auf, ihre Verpflichtung gegenüber dem Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung einzuhalten, wie es in der ugandischen Verfassung und von der Staatspartei des Internationalen Pakts über bürgerliche und politische Rechte (ICCPR) versichert wird

Mr. Mike Chibita
Director of Public Prosecutions
Directorate of Public Prosecutions
Workers House, Plot 1 Pilkington Road
Kampala, Uganda
Email:mike.chibita [at] dpp.go [dot] ug>

Major General (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
Bauman House, Plot 5, Parliament Avenue
P. O. Box 7183
Kampala, Uganda
Fax: +25641254829
Email: info [at] justice.go [dot] ug

If you would like to send a message of support to Dr. Nyanzi please address them to lianna.merner [at] pen-international [dot] org


Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN):

Dr. Nyanzi, who often uses provocative language and metaphor in her writings and her social media posts, was arrested on 7 April 2017 and charged with cyber harassment and offensive communication under the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 on 10 April. The charges are based on Facebook posts, in particular one from January 2017 in which she called President Yoweri Museveni a ‘pair of buttocks’. At the hearing on 10 April, Dr. Nyanzi was denied bail and the prosecution called for an investigation into her mental health. When Dr. Nyanzi appeared in court again on 25 April, her bail application was postponed until 10 May. After 33 days in prison, her bail application was finally heard and approved on 10 May. Reports indicated Dr. Nyanzi was unwell and she was carried into court for the hearing on 10 May. Dr. Nyanzi posted on her Facebook page that she had become unwell in prison but was on medication to treat her illnesses. Though she has been released on bail, Dr. Nyanzi still has to contend with the application for a mental health examination as well as the charges of cyber harassment and computer misuse. Dr. Nyanzi returns to court on 25 May 2017.

In the months leading to her arrest, Dr. Nyanzi had been outspoken in her criticism of President Museveni and his wife Janet, who is also the Minister of Education. In particular, she had criticised the government’s failure to fulfil President Museveni’s 2016 election campaign promise to provide sanitary pads to all schoolgirls. Dr. Nyanzi subsequently started a campaign to raise money to buy and distribute sanitary pads for the schoolgirls. She was questioned by police in early March and was prevented  from boarding a plane to the Netherlands to attend an academic conference on 19 March. She was arrested on 7 April in Kampala after attending a talk at the Rotary Club about the campaign.

According to the „Guardian„, referencing a Facebook post of an activist who attended the hearing on 10 April, Dr. Nyanzi is alleged to have responded to the charges by saying: “/Offensive communication? Who is offended? How long are Ugandans going to be silent because of fear … I am an academic, poet. A writer. I use my writing metaphorically. I have called the president impotent, a rapist, a pathetic pair of buttocks. He lied to voters that he would provide pads and Ugandans are offended that he is such a dishonourable man. It is we who are offended, not him./”

The African Studies Association has pointed to the long history of the use of provocative speech in Uganda’s public life and referred to Dr. Nyanzi’s posts on Facebook and other media as standing in this same tradition.

Many human rights organisations, academics and writers have campaigned on behalf of Dr. Nyanzi, including PEN South Africa who launched a petition in support of the academic. PEN International featured Dr. Nyanzi as an Empty Chair at a panel event at the NGO Forum of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in early May. Upon her release, Dr. Nyanzi wrote on her Facebook page:

“/What a delight to be out of the ugly belly of the state’s brutality! Luzira Women’s Prison will forever hold a dear place in my heart. I made friends with prisoners… I am glad to be home with family and friends who love me… Freedom smells lovely when among loved ones. My lawyers and legal team kept my winning spirit up. My sureties restored my hope in humanity. All my visitors in prison inspired me not to give up. The public press media and the social media fraternities kept the fire burning. Human rights activists, feminists, queers, journalists, cartoonists, comedians, musicians, artists, scholars, researchers, foreign missions, and all my allies who stood tall and proud in solidarity with me, I thank you/.’

The right of free speech is enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution and as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Uganda has the obligation to protect freedom of expression. Freedom of expression includes the right to offend, particularly within the context of thoughts and opinions relating to public officials.  The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which oversees the implementation of the ICCPR, has made clear that the ‘mere fact that forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify the imposition of penalties’. Human rights bodies have also pointed out that heads of state and public figures should tolerate a higher degree of criticism than ordinary citizens.