, KAMPALA, Oct 12 – A Ugandan court dismissed treason charges Tuesday against opposition leader Kizza Besigye, effectively blocking the state from bringing a further prosecution ahead of next year\’s presidential election.
"The court cannot sanction any further proceedings against the petitioners," said the constitutional court\’s ruling, read by court registrar Ruhinda Ntengye. The judgement added that any further trial would be "a waste of time."
Besigye is to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in polls set for late February under the banner of the Inter-Party Cooperation, a four-party coalition.
After losing to Museveni in the 2001 election, Besigye went into exile in South Africa.
When he returned in 2005 to run for president again, the state accused him and 10 others of plotting an armed takeover of the government while in exile and charged him with treason.
As its treason case in the high court floundered, the state initiated a simultaneous military trial in the general court martial.
Tuesday\’s ruling by a five-judge panel unanimously threw out both the military and civilian cases.