'Detention used to stifle dissent in Uganda'

Amnesty International released a report on 1 November 2011 which accuses the Ugandan state of targeting critical journalists, civil society activists and opposition political leaders with "arbitrary arrest, intimidation, threats and politically motivated criminal charges".

Amnesty's report notes that thirty journalists are facing criminal charges. The report was published a day after a court appearance by two editors charged with fogery two years ago for publishing a letter ostensibly written by President Museveni on resolving ethnic tensions in the Bunyoro region.

Four opposition activists have been charged with treason for trying to organise a demonstration. Opposition Forum for Democratic Change President Dr. Kizza Besigye has been prevented by police from walking to his offices in Najanankumbi at Kasangati. In April and May "walk-to-work" demonstrations to protest against the cost of public transport were stopped violently by police, reportedly leaving nine people dead. A journalist from the largely state-owned New Vision newspaper was beaten up a police officer as he photographed the police surrounding Besigye's house. 

The report says that the Ugandan government has banned all forms of peaceful protest in the name of maintaining order. The report further says the current limits applied by government contravene the Uganda constitution and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. 

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