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Monday, January 20, 2020

Ugandan activist Nyanzi guilty of harassing the president

Ugandan academic and activist Stella Nyanzi has been found guilty of harassing President Yoweri Museveni online.

She was facing two charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication, but was not found guilty of the latter. Nyanzi responded with a passionate speech, accompanied by cheers from her supporters and other activists.

She said that she wouldn’t use her children as a reason not to be sent to jail.

She added that her children do not deserve a mother who sits in silence in the face of oppression, and is ready to sacrifice motherhood, to stand up to a dictator.

Nyanzi said she would have loved to be found guilty of offensive communication because she indeed planned to offend the president.

The conviction relates to a post she published on Facebook in September 2018, in which she made several references to the president’s late mother’s private parts and said she wished that she had died at birth.

The magistrate described the Facebook post as going against morality, as it was indecent, disgusting, lewd and obscene. Nyanzi had refused to apply for bail and spent the last eight months in jail.

She is yet to be sentenced.

She has previously been arrested and sent to jail for another Facebook post in which she referred to the president as a “pair of buttocks”. She is still on trial for those charges.

Nyanzi is an accomplished social researcher and academic, and, before her troubles began, was a lecturer at the country’s oldest public university, Makerere.

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