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FDC demand Besigye release

By Umaru Kashaka

Added 14th May 2016 01:58 PM

Besigye was on Friday evening charged before Moroto Chief Magistrates Court presided over by the acting chief magistrate Charles Yepeise and remanded until May 25 when he re-appear in court for further mention of the case.

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Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) former presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye

Besigye was on Friday evening charged before Moroto Chief Magistrates Court presided over by the acting chief magistrate Charles Yepeise and remanded until May 25 when he re-appear in court for further mention of the case.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has called for the immediate and unconditional release of its former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye from Moroto government prison.

The party also wants treason charges against him dropped.

Besigye was on Friday evening charged before Moroto Chief Magistrates Court presided over by the acting chief magistrate Charles Yepeise and remanded until May 25 when he re-appear in court for further mention of the case.

Prosecution alleges that between February 18 and May 11, 2016, Besigye in various places in Wakiso and Kampala districts incited the people to overthrow the government.

Besigye is also accused of declaring himself as president for having won the February 18 presidential elections. He was on Friday brought to court at around 6: 30pm amidst heavy security deployment.

However, he was not allowed to take plea because treason is a capital offence only triable by the High Court.

But earlier in the day, he had rejected a plea by police officers to record a statement saying there was no justification to do it.

Under the penal Code Act, treason is punishable by either death or life imprisonment.

Besigye was previously charged with treason in 2005, but government lost the case. The Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume attended the court proceedings.

Addressing journalists at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala, on Saturday, FDC president Mugisha Muntu condemned Besigye imprisonment.

"Yesterday (Friday) towards 7:00pm, Dr Besigye was put on charges of treason in Moroto beyond working hours. He was not allowed legal representation and in allocation so far away from Kampala. And this is after more than two months of harassment against him, against party officials, against party supporters and many arrests of our members since February 18, 2016," Muntu said.

He stressed: "All these harassments, all actions against Besigye and the party simply as system of intolerance in the regime and the fear for fair competition."

Besigye was the main challenger to President Yoweri Museveni in the recent general election, which Museveni won by a landslide. Besigye insists he was the rightful winner of the polls, but the Supreme Court upheld the official result.

Muntu said courts of law should act independently of the Executive constituent with the principle of separation of powers.

"This is the second incident where we have had the courts take major decisions after working hours. We condemn the acts of the regime for the harassments conducted against Besigye and against the party. We must all be equal before the law, we must all act constitutionally and we must all enjoy our freedoms, he said.

He said a number of FDC supporters were still locked up in various ungazetted facilities, including those under house arrest like Wafula Oguttu (leader of opposition), Michael Kabaziguruka (FDC deputy electoral commission chairman) and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (party spokesperson).

"We demand the withdraw of all security personnel from our headquarters, the security should desist from raiding our headquarters and we still demand as a party an internationally backed independent audit of February 18 presidential election to determine the outcome of that election because we still contest it," Muntu said.

He said the FDC organs would sit tomorrow to determine the next course of action. "Our supporters should not panic like the regime is doing. They should remain calm but vigilant.
It’s your freedoms and liberties at stake and sacrifices are still to be made," Muntu implored.

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