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Uganda drops cases against opposition leader

Ugandan court dismisses charges against opposition leader Kizza Besigye for inciting violence

AFP , Tuesday 9 Aug 2011
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A Ugandan court on Tuesday dropped two cases against opposition leader Kizza Besigye for his anti-government protests in April.

Besigye was arrested four times in April as police violently suppressed his "walk to work" protests against the high cost of living which he blamed on poor governance.

After months of delay, a magistrate at Kasangati court outside Kampala dismissed three charges against Besigye of inciting violence, rioting and disobeying police orders following two separate arrests on April 11 and April 14.

"All cases were dismissed as the magistrate ruled that there was either no case to answer or no evidence for the charges," Besigye's lawyer David Mpanga told AFP.

The magistrate rejected government claims that Besigye had been actively involved in rioting or had tried to convince bystanders to throw stones at police officers, Mpanga said.

Besigye still faces several charges of unlawful assembly but is currently challenging them in the constitutional court, Mpanga added.

Uganda's chief prosecutor last month also withdrew another charge of incitement to violence against the opposition leader.

At least nine people were killed when security forces clamped down the opposition protests.

Last month, inflation in Uganda reached 18.7 percent, an 18-year-high, with government blaming rising costs on high international oil prices and drought in the region.

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