Trial of Ugandan opposition leader set for Dec. 19

[JURIST] The trial of Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye [BBC profile] on charges of treason and rape [JURIST report] is set to begin on December 19. Besigye has been denied bail as he faces separate charges of terrorism and illegal possession of firearms [JURIST report] before a military court. His lawyers have argued that the military has no jurisdiction over civilians and that court martial proceedings against him as a former member of the Uganda military are illegal. Supporters of Besigye have said the trial is a ploy to prevent him from winning the Presidential bid in the February 2006 elections. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Monday urged Uganda's [JURIST news archive] electoral commission to uphold Besigye's presumption of innocence, concerned that the charges against him could be politically motivated. HRW argues that there is no legal or constitutional basis on which to deny someone the right to be nominated as a political candidate. IRIN has more.

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