Besigye faces 'unlawful assembly' charges

2012-03-22 13:01
Kampala - Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye will be charged with unlawful assembly after his arrest and subsequent release on bail following a demonstration, his lawyer said Thursday.

"He was told that he would be charged with unlawful assembly and then released on bond," lawyer Ernest Kalibala said.

Besigye was one of 16 activists arrested by police on Wednesday after thousands of opposition supporters flooded onto the streets of the Ugandan capital Kampala.

Police beat demonstrators and fired tear gas to disperse the crowds as opposition supporters pelted security officers with stones, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Following Besigye's arrest a police officer died after being hit on the head by a rock thrown by protesters.

Hours after the officer was killed Ugandan police beat up two journalists outside police stations in Kampala, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement.

"The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns attacks by Ugandan police against two journalists in separate incidents outside of police stations," the statement from the New York-based rights group said.

Freelance photojournalist Edward Echwalu, who works for Reuters and local newspaper The Observer, was beaten by four policemen using batons and a rifle butt as he waited outside a police station where Besigye was being held, the statement said.

In a separate incident, police also beat Anatoli Luswata, a reporter for the weekly Eddobozi newspaper, as he covered the arrest of opposition activists outside Kampala's main police station, CPJ said.

"Covering opposition party issues is not a crime," CPJ official Tom Rhodes said. "Ugandan police must stop arbitrarily attacking journalists simply for doing their job."

Besigye will appear in court on Friday morning. He has been repeatedly arrested and released over the past year during a series of protests against the high cost of living.

Read more on:    kizza besigye  |  uganda  |  east africa

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