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Ugandan Court Dismisses Treason Charges Against Besigye

  • James Butty

Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye

Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye

Kizza Besigye says the court's ruling is a befitting indictment of the government of President Yoweri Museveni and its disregard for the constitution

Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye is calling for the resignation of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General after Uganda’s Constitutional Court Tuesday ordered he and 10 co-defendants be freed from any further prosecution on treason charges.

The judges said there would be no further trial because the fundamental human rights of Besigye and the others had been grossly violated.

Besigye told VOA the court ruling is a befitting indictment of the Museveni government and how it has constantly violated the Ugandan constitution.

“The decision has come as a great relief to me because I can now breathe air as a non-prisoner. I have, over the years, been greatly inconvenienced. I cannot travel without a lengthy court process of securing my passport, which is kept by the court as part of my bail conditions. I think the judgment also was good in that it gave a befitting indictment of the regime that is in power in Uganda today to show how it has grossly abused the trust Ugandans placed in them,” he said.

Besigye said the government committed many transgressions of the constitution and that the judges’ ruling proved the Ugandan judicial system was dysfunctional. He also said the judgment means he can now travel freely without first notifying the authorities.

“The judgment today means that I do not have any case whatsoever against me, and my other colleagues with whom I was charged. In fact, the judgment went further to say that no case can (be) brought against me in the future in any court in Uganda relating to the same allegations that had (been) made in this particular case. To that extent, therefore, I am today a free man,” Besigye said.

Besigye said the court has done its part by revealing to Ugandans what President Museveni has done. Now, he said it was up to Ugandans to take the ruling to the polls next year and make sure that President Museveni is not returned.

“I think that the indictment is timely considering that we are coming into an election. Since the courts cannot do anything about such a regime, I think they have done their duty to explain to the people of Uganda what the government has done in this particular case. And, our duty is to extend that judgment to the electoral arena so that the people of Uganda can appropriately ensure that such a regime does not come anywhere near public offices again,” Besigye said.

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