Uganda opposition leader charged with treason

Kizza Besigye charged with treason on the eve of the nation’s president beginning his fifth term in office

Uganda opposition leader charged with treason

World Bulletin / News Desk

Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye was charged with treason on the eve of the nation’s president beginning his fifth term in office, officials confirmed today.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Deputy Police spokeswoman Polly Namaye said, “Besigye has been charged with treason and remanded to Moroto central police station until the 25th of this month.”

Besigye on Wednesday was airlifted to the Moroto district some 459 kilometers (285 miles) from Kampala just a day before President Yoweri Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony.

Namaye explained that Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, faces charges on several counts, including his “persistent calls for an independent audit of the 2016 election results, which are not provided for in our law”.

She added that the Forum for Democratic Change Presidential candidate has “incited the public against the powers in state and made persistent calls for defiance in spite of an interim order banning his activities”.

Besigye faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if found guilty.

U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Bruce Wharton, who represented the U.S. at Museveni's swearing-in, told journalists that Washington has some differences with the Ugandan government.

“Chief among those concerns at the moment is what we see as the diminishing space for political expression particularly for the political opposition, the ban on media coverage, and the shutdown of social media,” Wharton said.

He added: “One of the key issues is the balance between security and openness and how a democracy finds its way to ensuring people have the right to express themselves.”

Wharton led a walkout of Western diplomats from the ceremony after Museveni’s comments against the International Criminal Court and the presence of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, who is wanted on charges of genocide and other criminal activities in Darfur.

This will be the second time Besigye has been charged with treason. In 2005 after his return from a four-year exile in South Africa, he was charged with treason allegedly committed between 2001 and 2004. The charges then were in connection with a rebel group, the People’s Redemption Army, which allegedly operated from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Mayıs 2016, 09:01