Sunday, October 17, 2010

USA On Ugandan Court's Dismissal of Charges Against Besigye

The Constitutional Court dismissed the treason and terrorism charges and trials against the FDC leader Dr. Kizza Besigye and ten others. The United States has responded favorably to these events, with Mr. Philip Crawley the USA assistant secretary bureau of public affairs saying that the ruling will allow Dr. Besigye to "campaign freely and without fear of prosecution from the state". Mr. Crawley went on to mention an independent judiciary being important to democracy, and that the judiciary is acting in an independent manner. The Constitutional Court is composed of a panel of five judges who said the State could not continue with the cases because the State's agents violated the rights of the accused by beseiging the High Court and rearresting the suspects to block their release on bail. The panel also blocked the state from using any process to initiate charges in connection with the alleged treason charges against the defendents again. It is a major victory for Besigye, after being arrested in 2005 after returning from exile. Charged with both treason and rape, both sets were dropped. Now Dr. Besigye can go into the 2011 elections without any criminal charges against him, unless the government plans an appeal.

By Margaret Nunne

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