Dr. Stella Nyanzi appeals

BY Sania Babirye

Kampala high court judge Angelin Flavia Ssenoga is today expected to hear an appeal filed by jailed Makerere university Researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi.

On the 16th of August, the convicted scholar petitioned the High court in Kampala challenging her 18 month jail sentence for assaulting the person of President Museveni and his late mother Esteri Kokundeka.

Through her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, Dr.Nyanzi is challenging her conviction and sentence basing on ten grounds.

Among the grounds for her appeal Dr.Nyanzi is citing an alleged illegal and inappropriate sentence that she says Buganda road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu handed her on the 2nd of this month after finding her guilty of computer misuse.

She also claims that her worship Gladys Kamasanyu failed to properly and correctly evaluate evidence adduced by the state on top of being biased.

Further more, Dr. Nyanzi is accusing Kamasanyu of abusing rules regarding audio-visual proceedings during her sentencing in which she claims that she never consented to be sentenced via video conferencing link while at Luzira prison.

She also says that the lower court committed several procedural errors including failing to compel her defense witnesses to testify which she claims occasioned her a miscarriage of justice.

On the 2nd of August 2019, Buganda road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu handed an 18 year jail sentence to Makerere university Researcher Dr.Stella Nyanzi after finding her guilty of cyber harassment.

Nyanzi was however sentenced in absentia after she was whisked away from the video conferencing hall at Luzira for insulting the magistrate and flashing her breasts.

As always, the controversial scholar did not disappoint her supporters who were packed in court because immediately when she was produced before the magistrate via a video link, she did not waste any time in putting up a show to show her dissatisfaction with the video conferencing system.

She started shouting and raising her middle finger at the magistrate as she shouted on top of her voice before finally exposing her breasts on the video screen as the magistrate sat there and watched in total dismay.

However, Luzira prison security later whisked Dr.Nyanzi away from the video link forcing the magistrate to sentence her in absentia.

Meanwhile, Nyanzi is serving only 9 months out of the 18 sentenced after the magistrate subtracted the 9 months she had so far spent on remand.

There was also drama in court after Nyanzi’s supporters turned rowdy and started shouting, abusing and throwing bottles at the magistrate to show their dissatisfaction with the decision by the magistrate to not have Nyanzi brought in court for her sentencing and the actual punishment of 18 months that she was given.

This forced police to intervene to try and calm them down.

While sentencing her, the magistrate ruled that the offense of Cyber harassment crimes are on the rise and that there is need there is need to curb it down .

She also stated that she would have sentenced Nyanzi to a fine but a fine will not occasion any impact on Nyanzi since she is unremorseful despite being convicted of posting an obscene and vulgar poem attacking the person of the president and that of his late mother.

And since then, six people have been charged with assaulting the magistrate after a mineral bottle was thrown at her.

These also include a one Abalinabyo Fatuma who is separately charged with the actual throwing of the mineral water bottle at Kamasanyu but are out on bail.