Uganda military court reinstates terror charges against opposition leader

[JURIST] A Ugandan military court-martial has reinstated firearms and terrorism charges [JURIST report] against defeated presidential candidate Kizza Besigye [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] after the military trial was postponed during elections [JURIST report]. Besigye's lawyers said Thursday that they will ignore the reinstated charges and that Besigye will not appear before the court-martial. Uganda's Constitutional Court has already dismissed the military charges saying that the army had no jurisdiction to try terror cases [JURIST report] or to run trials concurrent with the civilian High Court. The state has appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court. The chairman of the court-martial, Gen. Elly Tumwine, has also ordered Besigye to be brought before the court on March 15.

Besigye is already accused of treason and rape in civil court, where he is also scheduled to appear March 15. The opposition Forum for Democratic Change [party website] have said that the charges are part of an effort by the ruling party to extend current President Yoweri Museveni's 20-year rule. In last week's presidential elections [JURIST report], Museveni was re-elected by 59 percent of the vote. The FDC has said they will challenge the results in court [JURIST report]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Uganda [JURIST news archive]. Reuters has more. The Daily Monitor has local coverage.



 

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