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Court finds Stella Nyanzi guilty of cyber harassment

Dr Stella Nyanzi. PHOTO via @RosebellK

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dr Stella Nyanzi has been found guilty of cyber harassment.

On Thursday, Buganda Road Court Grade one Magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu convicted Nyanzi on grounds that there was overwhelming evidence.

However, Nyanzi was acquitted of offensive communication because prosecution failed to adduce evidence to show how the President was annoyed.

Cyber harassment attracts a maximum sentence of three years or a fine of 1.4 million shillings.

The conviction stems from a case in which Nyanzi is accused of posting a loutish birthday Poem on her Facebook page on September 16, 2019, attacking the late Esteri Kokundeka the mother to President Yoweri Museveni. The poem was written in a vulgar language.

Although prosecution adduced evidence from three witnesses to pin Nyanzi, court mainly relied on the evidence of Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Bill Ndyamuhaki from the Cyber Crimes Department of Police.

Kamasanyu said that Ndyamuhaki adduced overwhelming evidence to show how he was able to prove that Nyanzi owned the Facebook account where the indecent poem was posted.

She noted that Ndyamuhaki tendered before court the evidence including exhibits such as Activation codes used to create Nyanzi’s Facebook account, the documents showing the number that activated the Facebook account, a photocopy of the passport Nyanzi reportedly used to apply for the phone number from MTN Uganda which she used to create the Facebook page.

Ndyamuhaki also tendered two bio-data forms obtained from Makerere University Vice-Chancellor and the Human Resource Manager.

The witness also adduced two court orders that were secured in December 2018 and April 2019 before Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Miriam Akello and later served to MTN Uganda and Makerere University before he obtained the information about Nyanzi.

Kamasanyu ruled that Nyanzi has no explanation whatsoever because she was asked to defend herself of the said charges but she chose to remain silent.

On the second charge of offensive communication, Kamasanyu said that the evidence from prosecution was insufficient since it couldn’t prove that the poem had been posted repeatedly.

Court has also said that there was no evidence to show that President Museveni was annoyed.

Nyanzi regretted why court did not find her guilty of offensive communication because she alleges that Museveni has been offending the country for over 30 years.

Nyanzi who has been in Luzira since November 2018.

She becomes the first person to be convicted under the Computer Misuse Act which came into law a few years ago.

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