By Umaru Kashaka
Turkish-based blogger and government critic Fred Lumbuye has moved to a new location.
Lumbuye was on Monday released from Kocaeli Foreigners Detention Centre in Turkey where he had been held on charges of having an expired visa and overstaying in the country.
His Ugandan lawyer and Kyadondo East MP, Muwada Nkunyingi, said Lumbuye relocated after he was freed from jail, but he did not divulge details of his new home.
“He has been renting a house in Turkey and when he was released from prison, he relocated to a new place for his own safety as well,” Nkunyingi told New Vision today.
The MP noted that even after his release, Lumbuye still answers charges levelled against him by Turkish Immigration officials.
“His legal team in Turkey remains committed as it has been to logically conclude all such legal details, but we are likely to win these unconcluded cases and once we win them, he will be free in Turkey,” he said.
Turkish ambassador to Uganda Kerem Alp said yesterday that Lumbuye was being monitored by immigration authorities at a place of his choice.
What next for Lumbuye
Nkunyingi said the immigration authorities did not impose any travel restrictions on Lumbuye.
“He was released with all his travel documents and he is now resting. All they wanted was for him to move in an organised way while in Turkey. His movements are only controlled within Turkey,” he stated.
Nkunyingi, who replaced his now party leader Robert Kyagulanyi as MP in the January 14 elections, said Lumbuye will have the right to choose whether to stay in Turkey or to go to any other country.
“That is his personal right, but as of now, no one is chasing him out of Turkey. No one is also stopping him from blogging and enjoying his social media right,” he said.
Lumbuye’s critics argue that his tongue as a blogger is laced with a consummate ability to tell lies and spin.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said in August that 15 case files were opened against Lumbuye as questions were raised over his whereabouts.
“Once Lumbuye is handed over to Uganda Police, we shall process him along with his 15 case files that were opened against him,” Enanga said then as the debate on his whereabouts raged on.
But Lumbuye’s lawyers, including Nkunyingi, contend that their client and a member of National Unity Platform has not committed any offence and he hasn’t been pardoned.
“We challenged his deportation and made applications for his international protection under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. But we have won our key battle which was getting him out of prison,” the lawmaker said.
Alp said early last month that Uganda, Turkey and Interpol held talks over Lumbuye and a related possibility of repatriation, but he could not divulge details of what the three parties had agreed on.
Kyagulanyi said yesterday that he was glad Lumbuye had regained his freedom.
“I am very glad that after several months in detention, political activist Lumbuye was yesterday (October 18) released from jail in Turkey. I am very grateful to the legal team, our diaspora leadership and all Ugandans who did everything to see that he gets his freedom,” he posted on his Facebook page.