World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Uganda: Opposition Leader Arrested

Uganda: Opposition Leader Arrested

Authorities Must Exercise Restraint in Responding to Protests

Uganda’s leading opposition politician and presidential candidate, Dr. Kiiza Besigye, should be promptly granted bail and provided with a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today.

Besigye was arrested in Kampala on Monday on capital charges: treason for his alleged ties to Ugandan rebel groups and rape for an incident that allegedly occurred in 1997.

As the leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change, Besigye is widely believed to pose the greatest challenge to the re-election of President Yoweri Museveni in elections scheduled for March. Three weeks ago, Besigye returned to Uganda after four years in exile in South Africa. In Kampala as well as northern and western Uganda, he was greeted by enthusiastic crowds.

“It’s up to the Uganda government to demonstrate that Besigye’s arrest is not politically motivated,” said Jemera Rone, Uganda researcher at Human Rights Watch. “If the government denies him bail, it will reinforce the perception that it has pressed capital charges against him to prevent him from campaigning for president.”

Uganda’s harsh law on bail provides that suspects preliminarily charged with a capital offense may be held in detention for 360 days before they are entitled to bail. These provisions are inconsistent with Uganda’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states, “It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial.”

“The principle of innocent until proven guilty is of vital importance in this politically charged environment,” said Rone. “The security services must respect the right of Ugandans to protest this arrest.”

Human Rights Watch called on the Ugandan authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with the people protesting Kiiza Besigye’s arrest. It also called on the political parties and other supporters of Besigye to do all they can to prevent acts of violence by those protesting the arrest.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Zimbabwe - Meet The New Bosses

At 75, Mnangagwa is not exactly what you’d call a new broom. As many observers have pointed out, his track record has been one of unswerving dedication to Mugabe ever since the days of anti-colonial insurgency... To these guys, things had to change in Zimbabwe, so that things could remain the same. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>

ALSO:

Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>

ALSO:

Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC