PEN SA Makes an Urgent Appeal to Ugandan President to Release Dr Stella Nyanzi
01 May 2017
PEN South Africa sent the statement below to President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni.
You can read PEN International’s statement here.
SA PEN STATEMENT ON THE ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT OF DR STELLA NYANZI
PEN South Africa, an affiliate of PEN International, an organisation representing writers, editors and translators who have pledged themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression or censorship and to uphold freedom of the press, is greatly concerned by the arrest and imprisonment of Dr Stella Nyanzi, a celebrated and respected Ugandan activist, feminist, writer and academic.
On April 10th 2017, Dr Nyanzi was charged with ‘cyber-harassment’ and she was subsequently arrested and imprisoned by the Uganda government for criticising President Museveni and his wife, Janet Museveni.
We, at South Africa Pen, are greatly concerned by Dr Nyanzi’s arrest, by her on-going imprisonment, by the nature of her detention (there have been reports that she has been forbidden any books but the Bible), and that the press were not allowed to attend her court hearing. Alone, these actions signal a distressing violation of freedom of speech, together they promise an unacceptable precedent for future punishments.
South Africa Pen joins the growing chorus of voices within Uganda and throughout the world in calling for the charges against Dr Nyanzi to be dropped and for her immediate release.
We write this letter on the 27th of April 2017, South Africa’s Freedom Day. It is a day on which we reflect not just on the freedoms and challenges we face today as a nation, but also on the tremendous role that other African countries, like Uganda, played in our liberation. Our call for Dr Nyanzi’s release is therefore not one made in isolation, but rather with the understanding that our nations’ histories are intertwined, that our present (and future) continental freedoms are inter-connected, and that solidarity around freedom of speech is essential.
President PEN South Africa
Please fill in the online form if you would like us to add your name to PEN South Africa’s appeal to the Ugandan President to release Dr Stella Nyanzi:
Scroll down in the form to add your name and email.
Nadia Davids: PEN SA Board Member
Myolisi Sikupela: PEN SA Centre Co-Ordinator
Margie Orford: President PEN South Africa
Nooshin Erfani: PEN SA Board Member
Richard de Nooy
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey
Nimi Hoffmann (PhD student)
Alexander D. Antrobus
Sibabalwe Oscar Masinyana
Dr Lizzy Attree
Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin
Noor Kutubul Alam Siddiquee
Misa Makwakwa Masokameng
Chris Gribble, Chair, International Cities of Refuge Network
(Image courtesy of Azania Post)