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Kizza Besigye granted bail in treason case

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President Museveni’s leading opponent, Dr. Kizza Besigye who has been on remand at Luzira Prison on treason charges since May 16 is out on bail.

The frequently arrested opposition leader, has for the past two months appeared in court on treason charges after he allegedly took part in a fake presidential swearing-in ceremony which was filmed and circulated online.

But Dr. Besigye was on Tuesday morning granted bail on condition of a non-cash UGX100m bond, asked to restrain from violence for as long as his trial is still ongoing.

High Court Judge Wilson Masalu Musene while reading his judgement on Tuesday morning said bail is representative of notion that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty or if they confess.

Court was impressed by the high caliber of sureties presented. Even state counsel had no objection.

Besigye’s four sureties include FDC party president Gen. Mugisha Muntu, FDC Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi,  Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume and Rubaga Division Mayor Joyce  Nabbosa Ssebugwawo.

“The applicant (Besigye) has proved on oath that he is 60 years old which is advanced age. There was no rebuttal,” ruled Judge Musane.

“The accused person [Besigye] religiously attended court in previous cases in honor of bail conditions,” he added.

“The liberty of one must never be curtailed wantonly or arbitrarily,” Justice Masalu quoted retired judge James Ogoola.

The judge said Mr Besigye should end his party’s defiance campaign, including demonstrations and weekly prayers at his party’s headquarters.

He also told the opposition leader to live peacefully and not cause any violence.

When he came out of the court building and flashed a victory sign.

He said: “I’m very happy to be out.”

Starting July 26, Besigye expected to report to court once every two weeks.

In 2006, Besigye who was facing treason charges, was released on bail and appeared in court 39 times before he was acquitted.

Dr Besigye, a former doctor to Mr Museveni, has unsuccessfully challenged him four times and was in the space of five years arrested 38 times for political activities as well as being repeatedly beaten and tear gassed.

He was detained frequently during the last election and was held under house arrest for more than a month afterwards. He claimed that he won the poll with 52 per cent of the vote and called for an independent audit.

When the opposition announced a day of defiance over the swearing in of the incumbent, newspaper editors were summoned by the cabinet and told not to give the protest coverage.

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