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A High Court Overturns Earlier Ruling in Besigye Case


A high court in Uganda has ordered that the passport of Kizza Besigye be returned and his ability to travel out of the country reinstated. Dr. Besigye, the leader of an opposition party, is on trial for treason. He surrendered his passport last November as a condition of his bail. President Museveni’s government had argued that Mr. Besigye would flee the country if given his passport.

The opposition leader spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty about the court decision.

“I have obviously been anxious because the case itself over which this bail relates has actually stalled for quite some time. And therefore if I was not allowed to travel, it would completely cripple my own activities as well as those of the party itself which I lead.”

Dr. Besigye says the argument put forth by Museveni’s government did not convince the judge.

“His accusations of me were made even before I came back to Uganda, and if I had the intention of not facing the law, I would not have come back at all. I came back precisely so that anybody with evidence against me can present it in a court of law. And as you know I have been here now for about nine months. One of the cases against me was disposed of, and there was absolutely no evidence brought by the government. As a matter of fact, we are instituting charges of malicious prosecution against the government in that particular case.”

Doctor Besigye says he plans to make his first trip out of Uganda this week.

“I applied only to make two trips, one to Accra (Ghana) at the beginning of August and another one to London sometime in October, and it is for specifically those trips, for the duration of the business that I have to transact during those trips that my passport will be given to me. Otherwise when I come back, I must hand it back to the court.”

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