Ugandan Man Sentenced to Six Years for Insulting President on TikTok

A Ugandan court has sentenced 24-year-old Edward Awebwa to six years in prison for insulting President Yoweri Museveni and the first family in a video posted on TikTok. Awebwa was charged with hate speech and spreading “misleading and malicious” information against President Museveni, First Lady Janet Museveni, and their son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who is the head of the military.

The court heard that Awebwa shared abusive information, including claims of an impending tax increase under President Museveni. Although he pleaded guilty and asked for forgiveness, the presiding magistrate, Stella Maris Amabilis, stated that Awebwa did not appear remorseful and that his language in the video was “really vulgar.”

“The accused deserves a punishment which will enable him to learn from his past so that next time he will respect the person of the president, the first lady, and the first son,” Magistrate Amabilis said. Awebwa received six-year sentences for each of the four charges against him, to be served concurrently.

Human rights groups frequently criticize Ugandan authorities for violations of human rights and freedom of expression. In 2022, award-winning Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija faced two counts of “offensive communication” after making unflattering remarks about the president and his son on Twitter. He fled to Germany after spending a month in jail, where he claimed he was tortured.

Activist and writer Stella Nyanzi, also in exile, was previously jailed after publishing a poem critical of Mr. Museveni. President Museveni, in power since 1986, signed a law in 2022 that rights groups say is aimed at suppressing freedom of speech online. Last year, the constitutional court ruled that a section of the act penalizing “offensive communication” was unconstitutional.

Ugandan human rights lawyer Michael Aboneka stated that Awebwa was charged under the same broader law still being challenged in court for its vagueness. He told the BBC Newsday program that the president and his family should expect criticism. “Unless they are saying that they are going to arrest every Ugandan for criticizing them at every point,” Aboneka said.

Kindly share this story:
Kindly share this story:
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
Share on facebook
Top News

Related Articles