Dr Stella Nyanzi, Makerere university researcher and a social activist faces disciplinary action by the Uganda Prison Services
Dr Stella Nyanzi, Makerere university researcher and a social activist faces disciplinary action by the Uganda Prison Services following her alleged misconduct contrary to the standing orders of the Uganda Prisons Services during her sentencing last week.
She was found guilty of cyber harassment against the persons of the president that includes insulting her late mother and subjected to a nine months’ jail term.
However, Dr Nyanzi faces more punishments’ after being found guilty of violating Uganda Prisons Services standing orders during her sentencing
DR Nyanzi who appeared to receive her sentence through video conferencing caused chaos in court minutes before the trial magistrate ruled her sentence which happened in her absence after she was dragged away by the prison wardens.
That includes throwing battles, pouring water on the prison warders, breaking the video link and eventually undressing herself before court.
Uganda Prisons spokesperson, Frank Baine says Dr Nyanzi will be charged as it has happened to other prisoners who violated the standing orders of Uganda Prisons.
“She showed indiscipline, when you are in custody you are supposed to show all the highest level of discipline but she decided to start throwing things like microphone, bottles then even stripping,” Baine said.
However, Baine says Dr Nyanzi will not be allowed to have lawyers in her defence, because prison is an administration with full powers. But she has a chance to appeal if not satisfied with the judgement.
“In prison, you don’t have any defence, we don’t allow a lawyer in our system. This is an administration, and the administration takes personal responsibility for what you have done but if she is not satisfied with the officers in her case, she can appeal! there very many processes,” Baine said.
Spokesperson Judiciary, Solomon Muyita says Dr Nyanzi’s new protests were in contempt of court through the presiding magistrate did not find it necessary to amend her sentence.
“The prison officers who sit in there are not just prison warders as part of the institution of the prison, but they are officers of the court and we expect them to conduct themselves as though they are in court,” Muyita said.
Nevertheless, Human Rights lawyer, Mulende Shamim admits that Dr Nyanzi has a case to answer as far as her conduct in court was during her sentence, but her fears are will the panel of judges be independent?
“Will that prison officer or the committee not be biased? Remember that they are also mandated to respect the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, and give a right to a fair hearing. She may not be allowed to have legal representation, but she must be heard and evidence must be adduced to verify these allegations against her,” Mulende said.
Also, Frank Baine said Dr Stella Nyanzi might have some implications on her nine (9) months imprisonment if found guilty.
“The best way to handle her is to keep her a little bit longer so that she understands the mechanism of law. Her visitors should be suspended for some time,” Baine said.
If at all Dr Stella Nyanzi receives more additional sanctions, it might not affect her because she earlier said before the court that she does not mind being in prison.