U.S. Senator Chris Coons Condemns Arrest Of American Journalist In Uganda

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U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, today condemned the arrest of an American journalist in Uganda and called on the Obama Administration to “speak out forcefully” against the government's "increasingly anti-democratic actions."

"An American documentary filmmaker, Taylor Kraus, was arrested Tuesday while filming the police response to an opposition rally. The mayor of Kampala — an opposition politician — was also prevented from taking part in demonstrations when police surrounded his house," Senator Coons' statement reads.

“Respect for freedom of expression and openness to political dissent are cornerstones of any democratic society. The Ugandan government’s continued suppression of speech and assembly is undermining the prospects for Uganda’s democratic future. While I recognize and value Uganda’s leadership in combatting terrorism and promoting stability in the region, the United States must not stand by as democratic values and principles are being increasingly disregarded. I urge the Obama Administration to speak out forcefully against the Ugandan government’s actions, including the arrest this week of an American journalist there. Reversing the anti-democratic trend in Uganda is not about imposing abstract political values, but about Uganda’s long-term stability, prosperity, and the future of its relationship with the United States.”

Senator Coons added: "This week’s developments follow a disturbing pattern of repression. In May, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni ordered the closure of four independent media houses for running stories critical of his government. While they were allowed to reopen 10 days later, they were forced to apologize and agree to self-censor any content the government might find offensive. In June, Ugandan security forces violently dispersed a crowd gathered to hear Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago, firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd." 

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