Okello, a Lira based journalist attached to Rhino FM, was in October last year charged with abuse of inferior, a charge that shocked Okello’s lawyers since he is a civilian who had never been in the army.
PIC: Lira based journalist Augustine Okello with Human Rights Network for Journalist-Uganda legal officer, Daiana Nandudu after court withwrew charges aganist him on Monday. (Joseph Ekol)
KAMAPALA - Journalists were on Monday left in excitement following the withdrawal of charges against their colleague, Augustine Rouks Okello by Kampala High Court after seven years of struggle.
Okello, a Lira district based journalist attached to Rhino FM, was in October last year charged with abuse of inferior, a charge that shocked Okello's lawyers since he is a civilian who had never been in the army.
Abuse of Inferior is provided for under Section 141 of the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces Act and applies to UPDF soldiers.
Okello was ‘kidnaped' from Lira town on July 13, 2011 under unclear circumstances, after holding a number of meetings with the then District Internal Security Officer, Stephen Eriaku.
He was detained incommunicado for weeks, which prompted the Human Rights Network for Journalist -Uganda to file for a production warrant at Lira High Court.
Okello was later produced at Buganda Road Court, where he was charged with treason and concealment of treason. His charged was in October 2017 amended to abuse of inferiors.
On Monday, Barbara Masinde, the senior state attorney told court that the Director of Public Prostitution had instructed her to withdraw the charges against Okello.
"The DPP has instructed me to inform court that he has decided to withdraw charges against all the accused persons," Masinde told court.
This prompted Justice Flavia Anglin Ssenoga of the High Court to discharge the journalist.
"The DPP has withdrawn charges against you, so you are discharged forthwith," Justice SSenoga said.