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Report: Uganda

Uganda's opposition leader Besigye awarded bail after court appearance

Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

The Forum for Democratic Change, FDC, leader Kizza Besigye has been freed on bail after appearing in court in Kampala on Wednesday on charges relating to the killing of a police officer, John Bosco Ariong.

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The FDC Women’s League leader, Ingrid Turinawe, Kawempe division mayor, Mubaraka Munyagwa, the female MP for Kampala Nabilah Ssempala and FDC activist Catherine Dembe were also charged and given bail.

All deny any involvement in unlawful assemblies or organising an unlawful meeting that led to the death of the police officer.

Ariong was an assistant inspector of police at one of the larger police stations in Kampala.

He was killed when he was hit by a rock thrown by an unidentified member at one of opposition leader Besigye’s public meetings

Lawyers for the accused told the court those facing the charges were respectable political activists, all of whom would provide sureties.

They will appear again on 17 April.

After leaving the court, Besigye said they were asked to answer charges based on colonial laws which were introduced in 1959 when Uganda had a colonial government and are no longer relevant. He said the laws could only to be applied by the governor.

Besigye said the charges brought shame to the NRM and President Museveni’s government and he criticised the president for using the laws as if he were a colonial master.

He thanked the chief magistrate for his diligence in making the ruling.

The FDC leader said he will continue to fight for the opposition rights pointing out this is not the first time they have found themselves in the situation. He accused the leadership of wanting to frustrate the opposition and stressed he will not give up until there is real change in the country.

Previously when Besigye has been arrested and charged, the state has failed to provide enough evidence to convict him.

Kampala's mayor, who is also charged, did not appear in court as he is out of the country on official duties.

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