Makerere University Researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi has been sent back to Luzira by Buganda Road Magistrate Court pending an application for the revision of her case filed in the high court by her lawyers.
Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo asked for an adjournment of the case pending determination of their application seeking to block a planned psychiatric examination against Dr Stella Nyanzi. The mental examinations were sought by the state during Nyanzi’s maiden appearance before the magistrate’s court early this month.
Nyanzi is charged with two counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication contrary to provisions of the Computer Misuse Act. Nyanzi was also charged with using the internet to disturb the peace and right to privacy of the President.
Prosecution alleges that Stella Nyanzi used her social media pages to refer to President Yoweri Museveni as “a pair of buttocks.” She denied the charges but told court that she always writes ‘metaphorically’ to deliver messages to ‘those in power’.
In reference to her vulgar and erotic posts, prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya filed an application on April 10, asking court to order that Nyanzi is subjected to a psychiatric examination. Muwaganya told court that Nyanzi has a history of erratic psychiatric disorder and was once a patient at Butabika Hospital. The application was based on the affidavit by SP Mboniva Emmanuel, one of the police officers investigating Nyanzi’s case.
But her lawyers rushed to the High Court to challenge the request saying that the state wants to use the mental test to declare Nyanzi an idiot and send her to a mental health facility. Lawyer Opiyo told court that the defense team hoped the high court application would be heard before today’s appearance. However, High Court has set tomorrow as the hearing date for the application.
Opiyo said that the state’s application was brought in bad faith and with utmost act of ambush to deny them an appropriate response. He said they need time to respond to all arguments raised by the state in its application for mental health examination. He also argued that the defense team received a copy of the application after arriving at the court.
Presiding Magistrate James Eremye said Nyanzi was sent back to Luzira on the request of her defense team.
Nyanzi had recently taken up a campaign code-named ‘Pads for Girls’ in which she castigated government for failing to fulfill its commitment to provide sanitary pads to all schoolgirls. The provision was part of President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign pledges ahead of the 2016 general election.