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‘Rap Against Dictatorship’ artist arrested in Thailand | News

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A Thai rapper, whose music went viral for its anti-military government lyrics, was arrested on Thursday, according to a group of human rights lawyers, just hours after police re-arrested prominent activist Arnon Nampa for his role in a protest calling for reform of the powerful monarchy.

Dechathorn Bamrungmuang was brought to a police station outside the capital Bangkok “for documentation”, and is expected to be transferred to Samran Rat central station, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

In a separate social media post, June Sirikan, a TLHR lawyer, wrote that the rap artist was being charged with “sedition and other charges”, after appearing and singing on stage at recent student-led pro-democracy protests.

Dechathorn, also known to his fans as Hockey, is the founder of the group Rap Against Dictatorship, which performed in several of anti-government protests in recent weeks.

The group’s single, What My Country’s Got, brought them to fame but triggered threats of legal action for its criticism of the Thai government led by former military officials. They have over 500,000 followers on the video platform, YouTube, and their songs have attracted more than 100 million views.

Why is the monarchy in Thailand targeted? | Inside Story

Overnight, at least four other activists were arrested by police, including lawyer Arnon Nampa – the second time he has been arrested this month.

Reform of monarchy

Arnon, 36, has been at the forefront of a movement that has staged protests almost daily in Thailand, and was the first to call openly for changes to King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s role, breaking a longstanding taboo.

According to reports, Arnon had also been charged with sedition and inciting public unrest among other offences. He is already facing several other charges.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader who rejects activists’ accusations that last year’s election was manipulated to keep him in power, said he acknowledged student demands but they should not touch the monarchy.

“There are 67 million Thais,” Prayuth told reporters on Wednesday. “I believe the majority do not agree with the protesters.”

Demonstrators challenging the monarchy say greater democracy is impossible without changes that would limit the king’s constitutional role in a country that has had 13 successful coups since absolute monarchy ended in 1932.

Lawyer Arnon Nampa [centre] was arrested on Wednesday night, the second time he has been taken into custody by police this month [Chalinee Thirasupa/Reuters]

The Royal Palace has not responded to the demands.

Insulting the monarchy can lead to a 15-year jail sentence, but Prayuth has said the king had requested no prosecutions under the lese majeste laws for now. Sedition carries a term of up to seven years.

The protest movement drew 10,000 people to the biggest demonstration in years in Bangkok on Sunday. According to their social media, Rap Against Dictatorship artists also attended that event.

This week some high school pupils also joined protests that started on university campuses.

Hundreds of Thai high school students rallied at the education ministry on Wednesday and gave the three-finger “Hunger Games” salutes in support of an anti-government protests and to demand more freedom in schools.

Many also wore white ribbons to show their support.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society had filed a cybercrime complaint against exiled academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun for creating a Facebook group deemed critical of the monarchy, a spokesman said.

The group, called Royalist Marketplace, has more than one million members.

The ministry said it acted after Facebook had not acted on its request to shut the group down.

“The ministry’s action is the crudest form of information censorship. It goes against the freedom of expression that we are all entitled to,” Pavin told Reuters news agency.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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