, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – A Ugandan court on Monday released Kyadondo Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine and 11 others cash bail.
The court also released two other MPs, Kasiano Wadri an independent candidate who won the by-election in Arua and Gerald Karuhanga, all who were facing treason charges.
According to Kyagulanyi’s lawyer, the MP together with his counterparts will depart for the United Kingdom where they are expected to receive specialised treatment after 13 days in custody.
It is not however clear whether he will go after Thursday’s appearance in court or not.
“I don’t see the need to impose a restriction on holding their passports. It is inconvenient and they are no flight risk. I will be a very cumbersome situation,” the court ruled.
The court restricted MP Wadri from going to Arua, the centre of protests without a permit.
Addressing journalists after the ruling, Uganda Opposition leader Kizza Besigye, a fierce critic of President Yoweri Museveni, welcomed the verdict saying the country has been exposed to unnecessary ridicule and shame.
“These people should never have been arrested, tortured, terrorised and Hon Kyagulanyi should never have been taken to the army courts,” he said.
“It is a reprieve to know that the regime is waking up to a reality that it has discredited itself to the marrow, internationally.”
The Opposition chief said, “the immediate focus should be on getting these people to regain their health and the country ensuring that Museveni must go. The challenge of the country today is regaining it and not waste any one day when our country is in this state.”
He added that “this has been a shame to our country right from the time these people were kidnapped and tortured. We were focusing our eyes on the leaders, but two people collapsed while in court.”
Their arrest led to a global outcry, with protest witnessed not in Uganda but also in other countries like neighbouring Kenya.
Kyagulanyi’s driver Yasin Kawumwa was shot dead by security forces.
Kenyan lawyers and human rights defenders have called for a probe on all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in detention to ensure those found culpable are brought to book and insist the findings must be made public.
In a statement on August 23, President Museveni said he was ‘irked’ by authorities for using excessive force against demonstrating youths.
On attacking of journalists, the Uganda head of state said, “I condemn, again, in the strongest terms the beating of journalists by elements of the security forces.”
He added that “It is true that the journalists working for foreign interests or for our own local parasites tell lies, they do not do balanced reporting.