Our cameras and computers were confiscated by the state of Uganda when we were arrested December 6, 2014 and charged with unlawful assembly, meaning state authorities weren’t happy about the alleged conversation we were having about peace! For the past year, we’ve had trouble keeping in touch with you all, keeping this website updated, etc., but we’ve been far from idle. This anniversary week of our arrest, we need your help!
After our illegally prolonged detainment and remand in prison, Ugandan authorities have refused to return our cameras and computers (and Phil’s passport!) despite a court agreement that we should have received them by August 28, 2015. Meanwhile, Ugandan authorities are being scorned by the UN and other national and international groups for their abuses of human rights. We cannot allow thuggery to continue, especially those of us who are American taxpayers contributing more than their fair share of security funding to Uganda’s government.
Join us by taking the following steps to help return to us what is rightfully ours:
1. Email Uganda’s Police at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org with the following letter. CC KampalaUSCitizen@state.gov, as well as HayesTL@state.gov (the vice consulate who for several months has claimed to be working on the release of my passport), email@example.com of the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Uganda, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to change some of the details to your own (name, location, etc):
Dear Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura,
My name is YOUR NAME and I am a JOB TITLE/STUDENT/FRIEND OF PHIL/ETC writing from PLACE/COUNTRY. I have been informed that the items confiscated from American citizen Phil Wilmot including cameras and laptops over one year ago during his unwarranted brutal arrest have not yet been returned to him. Your office has taken no action on the matter despite being staffed with salaried workers, so his possessions should be returned to him by December 12, 2015. The Resident State Attorney Lira and the magistrate presiding over his case have already agreed the possessions have been given sufficient time to be investigated, and they were supposed to be returned to him by August 28, 2015 following a court directive. We expect your favorable and prompt action on this matter.
2. Paste the same message on the Uganda Police Force Facebook page and tag any friends you have in Uganda.
3. Text the Personal Assistant of the IGP at +256 712 667 734 and the officer who had originally been in charge of investigating our equipment at +256 772 350 632 and write, “Suspect A3 of Criminal Case 158 – 2015 in Lira C.M. Court should have his property returned to him immediately.” If you wish to complain over the phone, call the Police Professional Standards Unit at +256 800 199 199. (International calls can be made with Skype, from your Gmail, or by using a service such as PennyTalk or Telna.) Call at any hour. Your call really shows authorities that they are being monitored and goes a much longer way than your email will, especially since Uganda’s political climate is growing more tense each day with international eyes on the corrupt and violent election cycle. In case anyone asks, our case number in court is Criminal Case no. 158 of 2015 at Lira Chief Magistrates’ Court.
4. Invite one of your elected officials to make the same email and the same phone call – especially if you’re unable to make the call yourself.
5. Let the world know you participated by sharing a link to this page on social media. Tag Solidarity Uganda!
6. OPTIONAL – Kick in a few dollars to help us arrange for public school students to make the calls too!
We are forever indebted to those of you who participate! Thank you for standing up for justice and accountability!