Ugandan court adjourns hearing on student activists who participated in #StopEACOP march

  • This week the Buganda Chief Magistrate Court adjourned the hearing of a case filed by the Ugandan government against university student activists who participated in a peaceful march against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) after the prosecutor failed to appear in court for the hearing.
  • The court sat at exactly 9 am on 26th April, but the Chief Magistrate adjourned the matter to 10 July 2023 due to the absence of the prosecution.
  • The Chief Magistrate also issued criminal summons to three students who arrived late for the hearing. 

Youth for Green Communities (YGC) and activists from the StopEACOP campaign are urging the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to drop the charges against the student activists who were arrested and charged with a common nuisance offence linked to investments towards the controversial EACOP and other oil projects in Uganda.

Related news: There is growing opposition to in Uganda and Tanzania plus globally

The students were arrested on 4th October 2022 during a march to the European Union offices in Kampala, Uganda, to deliver a petition supporting the European Parliament resolution to halt the pipeline.

East African Crude Oil Pipeline map. Image credit: EACOP

The YGC and the StopEACOP campaign members, including the student activists, are demoralised by the continued adjournment and delays in this case caused by the prosecution team.

“It is very frustrating going to court for every hearing session, but the matter is adjourned under the pretext that the state prosecutor is still gathering evidence that will incriminate us. Besides fearing that we could be imprisoned for expressing our opinions regarding the EACOP project, it is expensive to go to court since we do not work. Most students miss lectures on the hearing dates because they turn up to court early in the morning, but the court proceedings usually begin over an hour late. We plead with the court to withdraw the criminal summons issued to the three late students.”Lubega Nsamba, one of the nine students arrested and part of the ongoing case, said.

“The case is unnecessary persecution of defenders of planet earth and healthy climate threatened by dirty and poisonous fossil fuel projects like EACOP. It manifests double standards since EACOP critics are jailed when they demonstrate, while its praise singers receive flowers, money and handshakes from the government when they demonstrate.”Human Rights Lawyer and Environmental Shield CEO Eron Kiiza said.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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