A young man accused of tweeting an inappropriate joke about Speaker of Parliament Anita Among was yesterday sent back to jail after the presiding magistrate said she was indisposed.
Mr John Sentamu, aka Kelly Slender, 26, was picked up by a drone at his workplace more than a month ago in connection with disturbing the peace of the Speaker on Twitter.
Mr Sentamu, a shop attendant, tweeted a joke about the personality of the Speaker, the third highest ranked officer in the country after the President and the Vice President, while she had paid a courtesy call to Pope Francis at the Vatican about two months ago.
Lawyer Jeremiah Keeya Mwanje, who is representing Mr Sentamu, yesterday said his client was picked up on August 30 and that his whereabouts were unknown until he was later found at the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in Kireka.
He was then arraigned before Buganda Road Court almost a month later before being sent to Luzira to await trial.
Mr Mwanje said the magistrate didn’t give reasons as to why the case could not be heard yesterday, including his bail.
“The magistrate refused to hear the bail application and sent him back to jail until October 27. We were not given any reasons as to why the case could not proceed,” he said.
Mr Sentamu is being charged with offensive communication under Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act. If convicted, he is liable to imprisonment of one year or a fine of 24 currency points, or both.
According to the charge sheet before court, Mr Sentamu, between July and September in Kampala, willfully, and repeatedly, used his twitter handle @JOHNKELLYTON 5 using user name Kelly Slender to disturb the peace of the Speaker of Parliament with no purpose of legitimate communication.
This comes at a time when the controversial Computer Misuse Act, 2022, is being challenged before the Constitutional Court, with petitioners labelling at unconstitutional, saying it curtails freedom of speech and expression in a democratic nation.
ABOUT THE NEW LAW
The Computer Misuse Act, assented to by President Museveni, has a number of provisions, including criminalising unauthorised access to information, sending unsolicited information, publishing photos of children without parental consent, publishing false and malicious information and publishing unauthorised information.