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Uganda: Freedom of expression takes a knock as Stella Nyanzi found guilty of cyber harassment

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Responding to the guilty verdict for Ugandan academic Stella Nyanzi on the charge of cyber harassment of President Yoweri Museveni, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki said:

“Stella Nyanzi has been criminalized solely for her creative flair of using metaphors and what may be considered insulting language to criticize President Museveni’s leadership. The mere fact that forms of expression are considered insulting to a public figure is not sufficient ground to penalize anyone. Public officials, including those exercising the highest political authority, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition.

“This verdict is outrageous and flies in the face of Uganda’s obligations to uphold the right to freedom of expression for all people in Uganda and demonstrates the depths of the government’s intolerance of criticism. It must be quashed and Stella Nyanzi, who has already suffered enormously for expressing her opinions, let to get on with her life.

“The Ugandan authorities must scrap the Computer Misuse Act 2011 which has been used systematically to harass, intimidate and stifle government critics like Stella Nyanzi.”

Background

Stella Nyanzi, formerly a research fellow at Makerere University’s Institute for Social Research, posted a birthday poem on Facebook for President Yoweri Museveni on 16 September 2018.

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She wrote: “I wish the acidic pus flooding Esiteri’s (the president’s mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn foetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda.”

She was arrested on 2 November 2018 and presented to court in May 2019 to answer to charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication. She was acquitted of the latter charge.

Stella Nyanzi has been repeatedly harassed, arrested and detained, simply for speaking out against the government. In January 2019 she told a High Court judge that she suffered a miscarriage while at Luzira Prison. In February the University of Makerere terminated her employment having suspended in 2016.

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Crime & Court

EFCC re-arraigns lovers for alleged N17.5m charcoal fraud

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The Ibadan zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, re-arraigned one Alice Peace John, alongside her boyfriend, Fadi Alloush before Justice Bayo Taiwo of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan for fraud in the sale of charcoal.

The duo were dragged to the court on three-count charges of conspiracy, stealing and obtaining the sum of N17, 500, 000.00 (Seventeen Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) under false pretences.

One of the charges read, “That you Fadi Alloush and Alice Peace John between the 18th October, 2019 and 23rd December, 2019 at Ibadan, within Ibadan Judicial Division of this honourable court, did commit an illegal act to wit: stealing of the sum of N17,500,000 (Seventeen Million and Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) , property of Coco-Dor Nigeria Limited and Houssam Nasreddine.”

The offence is contrary to Section 390 of the Criminal Code Laws, Cap 38, Laws of Oyo State.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, following which prosecution counsel, Dr. Ben Ubi, applied for a trial date, while defence counsel, Olukunle Kamisi prayed the court to allow the bail earlier granted the defendants subsist.

Justice Taiwo granted the defendants’ prayer.

According to the judge, “The bail shall subsist and that in the event where there is delay on the defendants’ part, their bail will be revoked.” He adjourned the matter till October 8, 2020 for trial.

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It could be recalled that the defendants were initially arraigned before Justice Iyabo Yerima of the Oyo State High Court on March 17, 2020 but had to be re-arraigned on Wednesday following the reassignment of the case to Justice Taiwo.

The defendants’ journey to the dock stretched from January to December 2019, when the victim, Houssam Nasreddine transferred a total sum of N17, 500, 000.00 to the account of the first defendant, John, for the purchase of charcoal from Iwere lle, Oyo State for export, which the defendant bought and loaded in containers at the Hapag LLOYD Shipping Company, Apapa, Lagos for exportation, but rather than sell the goods in the name of the rightful owner, she allegedly connived with her boyfriend, Alloush and transferred the ownership of the goods and sold them off.
The petitioner added that all efforts he made to retrieve either the charcoal or his money were frustrated by the defendants.

 

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Crime & Court

Ibadan: EFCC arrests brothers, three others for alleged internet fraud {Photos}

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Operatives of the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office, have arrested two pairs of brothers : Ayoola Timilehin, Olusola Timilehin, and Oladayo Fayemi, Tolulope Fayemi and three others suspected to be internet fraudsters.

They were arrested at their hide out on Wednesday, at Alaka, Elebu area of Ibadan, Oyo State.

The other three suspects arrested with them are Temitope Kumuyi, Babatunde Oyelakin and Olanrewaju Ibrahim. They are all between 20 and 30 years age range.

The suspects were arrested based on intelligence linking them with opulence without any identifiable means of livelihood. Items recovered from them, include: four cars, laptops, exotic phones and a stamp bearing the identity of the bursary section of Queensland University’s School of Medicine, Australia.

They will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.

 

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Crime & Court

Dapo Lam Adesina disclaims fake Facebook accounts

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A former member of the House of Representatives representing Ibadan Southeast / Northeast federal constituency, Hon. Dapo Lam Adesina says it has come to his notice of parody Facebook accounts opened in his name.

 

The ex-lawmaker, warned  on Friday through his verified Facebook page  that the two parody Facebook accounts that were opened in his name should be disregarded.

The two accounts are : Hon. Dapo Adesina and Dapo Lam  Adesina .

According to Mega Icon Magazine checks, such parody Facebook accounts were being operated by some fraudulent individuals with the aim of deceiving unsuspecting members of the public

“Kindly be informed that these two Facebook accounts that are opened in my name are not mine and should be disregarded.
“DO NOT HAVE ANY TRANSACTION (S) WITH THE ACCOUNTS PLEASE.
“You can also help to report the accounts so that Facebook can pull them down.
“Thank you for the love always . Have a great weekend ahead”, he said.

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