Sadat Waligo, a Correspondent of Red Pepper newspaper in Lyantonde District was acquitted of the charges of criminal defamation by Lyantonde Magistrates Court.
“I find that the Prosecution did not prove or place the accused person on the scene of crime in participation yet every element of the offence has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. On that basis I find that the Prosecution failed to prove the guilt of Sadat Waligo on the offence of criminal libel and I hereby acquit him and set him free. The charge is dismissed,” ruled the Lyantonde Grade One Magistrate Muhinda Tadeo on 18th September 201.
“I feel very excited that I am now a free man.” Sadat told HRNJ-Uganda.
Prosecution led by Anthony Wamibu alleged that Sadat posted on his Facebook page defamatory statements against the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Lyantonde, Sulaiman Tugaragara Matojo. The alleged statements are said to have been uttered by Diana Kategaya, a widow of the late Eriya Kategaya the former Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda. The widow made the said statements during a press conference in her home in January 2015 accusing the RDC of conniving with people to steal her cows and entering her house while she was in a bathroom naked.
“This is a big milestone in the fight against Criminal defamation. It is unfortunate that the innocent journalist has had to wait for a year to get his full freedom back. These kind of charges have a chilling effect on media and should be condemned in the strongest terms possible. However, we are appreciative of the judiciary for ensuring that Sadat is set free,” said HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Robert Ssempala.