Amnesty International has condemned the conviction of Dr. Stella Nyanzi on the charge of cyber harassment saying that it is a blow to the freedom of expression.
Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki described the conviction as outrageous. She says that the decision by the courts demonstrates the depths of the government’s intolerance of criticism and flies in the face of Uganda’s obligations to uphold the right to freedom of expression for all people.
“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,” She says.
Stella Nyanzi’s woes arose after she penned a birthday poem that targeted the President’s late mother Esteeri Kokundeka. The poem was posted on Stella Nyanzi’s social media pages on September 16, 2018, a day after President Museveni’s 74th birthday. In the post, Stella Nyanzi crafted vulgarity to wish that President Museveni should have died at the time of his birth.
She was arrested and prosecution said that the post disturbed the peace, quiet or right of privacy of President Museveni. On Thursday, she was acquitted of offensive communication but found her guilty of cyber harassment. She was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in jail.