Ugandan long-standing opposition leader Kizza Besigye has announced his intention to file a formal petition in court for the violation of his rights after he was released on bail on Tuesday (12 July). This followed him being detained for about two months on treason charges.
The former presidential candidate, who came second in the contested presidential election in February, was arrested and charged with treason in May after a video surfaced on social media reportedly showing him taking the oath of office for president in a mock swearing-in ceremony.
Leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, Besigye claims he won the 18 February presidential elections. However, official figures from the Electoral Commission show that veteran leader President Yoweri Museveni won the elections with 60.8% of all the votes cast, while Besigye came second after pulling 30.5%.
Besigye: Delay in trial 'a violation of human rights'
Besigye was freed on a $29,647 (£22,372) bail after spending two months at Luzira maximum security prison where he was held since his arrest on 11 May. However, the start of his treason case has not been scheduled, with state prosecutors repeatedly claiming that the state has yet to conclude its investigation.
Speaking to the chief magistrate, James Ereemye, Besigye said that, as a rule, prosecution is supposed to conclude investigations before arresting a suspect, and that a delay in his trial is a violation of his rights. The case was adjourned to 12 August.
"The longer the investigations take, the more my rights to a speedy trial are infringed upon. In the end, when prosecution has no case, as has permanently been the case in past prosecutions, there is no redress, " Besigye said as he appeared before the Nakawa chief magistrate's court on Wednesday (13 July), without representation.
The leader confirmed he was planning on filing a formal petition in court for the violation of his rights.
Speaking to the press outside the FDC headquarters on 13 July, Besigye described his detention. "I noticed some movements in my cell. I had a torch. I got up and torched to see a black uniformed fellow hurry out of the window which was enclosing my cell. My concern which i mentioned to the leaders of the cell and court is that the fellow who jumped out of the window had a mask on. This is a matter that I will continue to press on."
He added: "The biggest challenge is while you are still in police custody because the police is in direct line with the dictator. Many are detained for over 48 hours, negotiated with for those who are politicians. If you decide to join us this is what we can give you etc. I was relieved when I was taken to Moroto prison ward. The biggest challenge is overcrowding. We were 144 inmates. Every part of the cell is occupied."
Besigye, a long-time rival of Museveni, has been repeatedly beaten, hospitalised and jailed.