Bobi Wine still missing as Ugandan MPs charged with treason

Bobi Wine still missing as Ugandan MPs charged with treason

Three Ugandan lawmakers and dozens of others critical of President Yoweri Museveni have been charged with treason over their alleged role in the stoning of his convoy earlier this week.

Francis Zaake and Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, however did not appear in court.

On Wednesday, a leading opposition figure said Zaake had been severely beaten, as unverified images purportedly of him lying on a bed emerged on social media.

They were accused of “intent to do harm to the person of the president,” according to the charge sheet, which also said they “unlawfully aimed and threw stones, thereby hitting and smashing the rear windscreen of the presidential car”.

A magistrate told the defendants they could not enter pleas as their offense, classified as treason under the penal code, could only be heard in a higher court. He ordered that they be detained until Aug. 30.

Medard Sseggona, a lawyer for the defendants, told the magistrate that some of the accused had been “badly beaten and tortured during the process and after arresting them” by soldiers.

He asked the magistrate to allow the sick among the accused to have immediate access to medical care. That request was granted.

Another lawmaker was charged separately in a military court martial.

One of the vehicles in the Museveni convoy had its rear windscreen smashed when he traveled late on Monday to campaign for a ruling party candidate in a parliamentary by-election in the northern town of Gulu.

Museveni said on Wednesday he was unharmed, but five MPs were arrested in the moments after the incident.

Three of them, including the independent Kassiano Wadri who won the by-election, appeared in court in Gulu and were charged together with dozens of others.