Uganda opposition leader brought before military court on terror charges

[JURIST] Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye [BBC profile], charged [JURIST report] last week with treason by civilian prosecutors, was taken before a Ugandan military court Thursday to answer additional charges of terrorism and illegal firearms possession. Besignye, who had been scheduled to attend a bail hearing in the civilian High Court, refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the military tribunal which had earlier called him before it to answer to the civilian charges [JURIST report], and the head of court entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Uganda military courts are empowered to adjudicate weapons cases and other offenses by members of the Uganda military; Besigye is a former Uganda Army colonel. Western diplomatic observers were barred from the military proceedings by troops, according to the resident Danish ambassador, and human rights monitors said that "riding roughshod over the rights of political opponents and the courts" had "seriously damaged" Uganda's reputation. Besigye was scheduled to attend the military court again Friday, as well as a second High Court bail hearing. His arrest early last week prompted two days of rioting; the US State department has urged [statement text] the Uganda authorities to "examine the basis for the charges against Dr. Besigye and his co-defendants carefully." AP has more.

2:45 PM ET - The Kampala military court denied Besignye bail Friday and set a court-martial trial date of December 19. Besigye's lawyers have asked the country's Constitutional Court to intervene on the gounds that he should not face two trial processes for the same alleged offenses. BBC News has more.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.