Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Stella Nyanzi. Credit: Kampala Dispatch.

Dr Stella Nyanzi is free. The academic, feminist and queer rights advocate has been in prison for criticising Uganda’s long-serving president Yoweri Museveni. She was found guilty of “cyber harassment” against President Museveni in August 2019 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Nyanzi, through her lawyers, appealed her conviction and sentence, citing unfairness and that the trial court erred in law.

A Federal High Court sitting in Kampala has now ordered her release from Luzira Prisons. Justice Henry Peter Adonyo, who presided over the ruling, noted that Buganda Road trial magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu, who had earlier sentenced Nyanzi, had no jurisdiction to convict her of cyber harassment, and ordered her “immediate release.”

The case was further dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence as, Justice Henry observed, “Prosecution did not as well ascertain the kind of device which was used to send as the digital prints were not presented before Buganda road.” In addition, the court agreed that Dr Nyanzi and her lawyers were not allowed enough time to prepare their defense thus amounting to unfairness.

Daily Monitor reports that the court room was full, with mostly supporters of Nyanzi, and erupted in celebration. On Twitter, there are short clips from the scene and posts confirming Nyanzi’s release.

https://twitter.com/duchace/status/1230475284832489473

However, Dr Nyanzi is yet to regain actual freedom. According to the Ugandan writer Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire, there was a brief clash outside the courtroom between prison officials who insisted that Nyanzi return to jail to “fulfill formal release procedures” and her supporters who simply wanted her to go home. In the midst of the chaos, Dr Nyanzi collapsed and the prison warders drove her in her unconscious state back to, likely, the Luzira Women’s Prison. Policemen, he said, were “shooting live bullets at court to ‘contain the situation.'”

Her seeming re-arrest was widely condemned on social media, with many calling for her immediate release and urging state authorities to respect court orders.

Awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International Award for Freedom Expression, Stella Nyanzi remains stoic in her opposition to tyranny. Her collection of poetry, No Roses From My Mouth, was released early this month from Ubuntu Reading Group, while she was still in jail.

Brittle Paper is standing with Stella Nyanzi.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a Staff Writer at Brittle Paper. An alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, his work has been published in McSweeneys, Clarion Review, Charles River Journal and elsewhere. He was longlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award. In 2019, he was named by Electric Literature as 'One of the Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction' in a feature introduced by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He is a regular contributor with the New England Review of Books and lives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

What Will Post-pandemic Fiction Look Like?

edwin-hooper-Q8m8cLkryeo-unsplash

Inevitably, every major global event affects the cultural production coming after it. So what will literature produced after and about […]

Memento, New Anthology Edited by Adedayo Agarau, Collects Notable Voices in Contemporary Nigerian Poetry 

memento, edited by adedayo agarau - graph

The American publisher Animal Heart Press has released an anthology of Nigerian poetry. Titled Memento: An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian […]

Join Down River Road Magazine’s Virtual Book Club, Currently Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez | #drrbookclub

Down river road magazine - Reading Marquez

down river road, the new Nairobi-based magazine exploring the alternative in literature, music, and visual art, has launched an online […]

The 8 Writers & Journalists on OkayAfrica’s 100 Women List 2020

OkayAfrica 100 Women 2020 graph

OkayAfrica has released its 2020 “100 Women” list celebrating “extraordinary women from Africa and the diaspora making waves across a […]

Submit to WriteNow Magazine 3rd Edition on the Theme of Quarantine

Untitled design - 2020-04-07T221926.074

WriteNow is a creative writing NGO that was founded in 2017 by Nigerian writer and poet Kehinde Badiru. In partnership […]

Highlights from the Afrolit Sans Frontières Virtual Literary Festival

Untitled design - 2020-04-07T221250.583

In this interminable era of social distancing, social media has emerged not only as a network for writers and creators […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.