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Treason Trial Begins for Ugandan Opposition Leader

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye appeared before the nation's High Court Monday in the opening proceeding of his criminal trial.

Dr. Besigye and 22 codefendants pleaded not guilty to charges of treason and concealment of treason.

The opposition leader, who once was President Yoweri Musuveni's personal physician, also faces rape charges before the civilian High Court, and a military tribunal has been trying to lodge further treason charges and weapons offenses against him.

The High Court has ordered the military to suspend its trial, pending a ruling on the legality of the process, but military officials say they will proceed with their case trial.

Dr. Besigye was arrested in November, after returning from self-imposed exile to run in next February's presidential elections. His supporters say he was detained because he poses a credible threat to President Museveni's 19-year rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.