Assaulted Reuters journalist seeks 400 Million in compensation

By Sania Babirye

A Ugandan journalist working with an international media house Reuters whose picture of him being beaten by a group of soldiers during a protest against the arrest and detention of Kyadondo East Member of parliament on the 20th of August last year went viral has petitioned the high court seeking over 400 million shillings in compensation.

According to Documents before high court civil division , James Akena says that the said assault happened while he was covering a protest against Bobiwine’s continued detention at Makindye military barracks.

Through his lawyers of AF Mpanga, Akena claims that three soldiers in military uniforms pounced on him and started beating him uncontrollably yet he had identified to the assailants that he was a journalist just doing his work and not a protester.

Akena further claims that the said soldiers later bundled him on their track and took him to Qualicel bus terminal where the said soldiers continued to assault him before eventually setting him free.

He is now asking court to compel government to refund his 390 million shillings that he allegedly lost during the said assault, his damaged camera worth 29 million shillings, a phone and watch.

Akena further wants court to order government to pay all his medical expenses he had incurred while treating himself at Kampala Independent hospital amounting to 7million and sixty thousand shillings as a result of his injured back and another 600,000 shillings in transport costs from his home in Ntinda to the hospital which he is still incurring.

He is also seeking 65 million shillings in compensation being the money he lost while he was bedridden and away from work and also force the attorney General to be responsible for the said soldiers actions and compensation.

He says that he was humiliated beyond any reasonable doubt when a video footage showing him being assaulted by members of the number one security organization in the country went viral on social media.

He also wants the attorney General to issue a public apology for the said soldier’s actions saying he has been forced to seek court redress after the police failed to investigate his case he reported at the central police station a year ago.

Meanwhile since his arrest, the UPDF came out and apologized for the actions of their servants referring to such soldiers as unprofessional.

The army also promised to punish the said soldiers although it remains to be seen.

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