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Kizza Besigye freed on bail after treason charge

By Reuters | July 12th 2016
Kizza Besigye

Kampala: Uganda's veteran opposition leader Kizza Besigye was released on bail on Tuesday after being detained for about two months on treason charges, a judiciary official told Reuters.

Besigye came second in the presidential election in February. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni won with 60 percent of the vote, the electoral body said.

Besigye and independent monitors said the poll was flawed, citing bribery of voters, interference by security personnel and the national electoral body's lack of impartiality and transparency.

Besigye was arrested in early May after a video surfaced on social media depicting him taking the oath of office for president and he was charged with treason.

"He has been granted bail ... the judge found the objections of the state insufficient to deny him bail," judiciary spokesman Solomon Muyita told Reuters.

He is awaiting trial. State prosecutors have said repeatedly that police had yet to conclude their investigation. Muyita said Besigye was ordered to report to court every two weeks.

Museveni's critics say the charges against Besigye are trumped up and likely aimed at keeping him away from his support base. Officials deny the accusation.

Once hailed for returning political stability after years of turmoil, some local and international critics now accuse Museveni of clamping down on dissent, seeking the presidency for life and tolerating corruption.

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A legislator from the ruling party has said she would petition party officials to begin the process by which parliament would remove an age limit that now bars Museveni from standing for another term.

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