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Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 19:07 GMT


World: Africa

Ugandan journalists on trial

The Monitor: In the dock for a controversial photograph

Three senior journalists have gone on trial in Uganda on charges of publishing false news and sedition after their newspaper published a photograph of soldiers manhandling a naked woman.

The Monitor newspaper said it had received the picture from an individual who maintained it had been taken in an army barracks in Gulu in northern Uganda - the army's operational headquarters in their battle against the rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army.

Several witnesses for the prosecution were heard, including senior officers from the barracks, who denied the picture was taken in Gulu or that the soldiers depicted were even Ugandan.

The case has aroused great interest in Uganda, partly because the journalists - who include the newspaper editor Charles Onyango-Obbo - are very well known, and partly because of widespread shock at the photograph.

Editor-in-chief Wafula Ogutu and news editor David Ouma are the other journalists charged, each faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

The case has been adjourned until December.

Naked woman

Before the trial, lawyers for the newspaper had tried to track down the depicted woman, and found Candida Lakony, who claimed to be the woman.

However, she was later arrested and charged with supplying false information. She was sentenced last month to a year in prison.

Charles Onyango-Obbo's award-winning weekly columns appear in the East African and The Monitor - a selection are published on the internet.





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