Makerere University Researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi has been granted bail by Buganda Road Court Chief magistrate James Mawanda Ereemye.
Dr.Nyanzi arrived at the court Wednesday morning looking in poor health, and was helped to walk by prisons officers. Her lawyers say she had a bout of malaria.
After listening to arguments by both sides (details in storify below), magistrate Mawanda told court that he was granting Dr. Nyanzi bail so that she can give her lawyers material concerning her medical history, to enable them adequately respond to the state’s application to have her mental status ascertained.
He set May 25 for the next hearing on her mental state, before prosecution proper begins on the cyber-crime case she faces.
Magistrate Mawanda granted Dr. Nyanzi a court bond of sh10m, ordered her to deposit her passport with court and stated that she should respect the subjudice rule of not discussing the matter that is still in court. He also ordered her five sureties to sign a court bond of sh10m and ensure that Dr.Nyanzi returns to court on May 25 for the expeditious disposal of government’s application to have her mental status ascertain.
Resident State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya had maintained he is still interested in pursuing this application, because he believes she has a health problem that she herself cannot manage on her own. He said its state’s duty to help her citizens over come mental health challenges.
Nyanzi was arrested on April 7, 2017 soon after she made a presentation at a Rotary event in Kampala, and has been on remand at Luzira since. She is alleged to have tampered with the peace and privacy of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni between January and March this year, when she willfully and repeatedly used electronic communication to post offensive messages via Facebook.
She faces two counts of Cyber Harassment and Offensive Communication contrary to the Computer Misuse Act 2011.