Former Makerere University research fellow Dr. Stella Nyanzi was on Monday awarded Shs 50M as damages for violation of her right to movement by the high court in Kampala. Dr. Stella Nyanzi was intercepted at Entebbe International Airport in March 2017 and picked up by a security personnel, stopping her from travelling to Amsterdam to attend a scholarly conference.
This arrest was intended to help in investigations into a case of cyber harassment and offensive communication where she was proved guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. However, in resolving her counter law-suit in which she pleaded violation of her fundamental human rights and freedoms when she was blocked from leaving the country, Justice Henrietta Wolayo held that the security subjected Nyanzi to a degrading treatment at the airport for which she should be compensated.
“The right not to be subjected to degrading treatment is non-derogable, therefore the applicant’s rights under article 24 and 44(b) were violated when she was separated from fellow travelers and stopped from travelling.” Justice Wolayo ruled.
“I award the applicant (Dr. Nyanzi) 50 million shillings as compensation for the violation of her human rights to leave the country and the violation of her dignity through degrading treatment but I decline to award aggravated and punitive damages.” She added.
Justice Olayo also ordered the government to pay 40 percent of the taxed costs to Dr. Nyanzi that she used in pursuing the law suit. The facts of this case arose on March 19,2017 when Dr. Stella Nyanzi was at the immigration offices to get clearance for her flight to Amsterdam via Nairobi. She was then informed by the immigration officials that the criminal investigations Directorate (CID) had banned her from leaving the country and her passport, boarding pass were confiscated and she was unable to travel.