Uganda: Human rights defender Maxwell Atuhura released on police bond but faces prosecution for “unlawful assembly”
'Our Ugandan partner finally released, but on police bond', 27 May 2021
... Maxwell Atuhura, a member of the Ugandan NGO AFIEGO, was arrested on 25 May. He was accompanying an Italian journalist to meet with members of communities affected by Total’s oil projects in Buliisa district, Uganda. The journalist was released shortly afterwards, but Maxwell Atuhura, who has since been transferred to Hoima (still in the oil region), spent two nights in detention before being released on bond on the evening of May 27. The charge of “unlawful assembly” filed against him – which has no legal basis – is yet another example of the restrictions that civil society organizations face when they wish to meet people affected by Total’s oil projects. The arrest, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and subsequent prosecuting of Maxwell in fact constitutes intimidation and retaliation for his work as a human rights and environmental defender. Not only was he intimidated and threatened while in detention, but the authorities also asked numerous questions about his work, his connection to the lawsuit against Total in France, AFIEGO’s relationship with other international organizations, or the reasons why AFIEGO had taken legal action against the Ugandan government... Friends of the Earth France, Survie and their Ugandan partners demand that the trumped up charges against Maxwell Atuhura be dropped, and that concrete actions be taken to stop the repeated attacks on human rights defenders and journalists.