Uganda: Besigye Runs to the High Court Over His House Arrest

By Frederic Musisi

Kampala - The confined former Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, has petitioned the High Court to declare the police's continued siege of his residence in Kasangati as illegal and order them and other security forces to leave his home.

Dr Besigye specifically wants court to order police to leave his home in Kasangati, Wakiso District, and allow him free movement both within and outside the country.

The petition filed by Dr Besigye's lawyers Kwesigabo, Bamwine and Walubiri Advocates in the High Court on Tuesday evening seeks, among other declarations: "A declaration that the willful actions of various police and security outfits in their course of duty, have violated the applicant's rights under the Constitution, namely, right to personal liberty, right to human dignity and protection from inhuman treatment, right to property, right to privacy of home, right to a fair hearing, right to freedom of speech, right to freedom of movement, civic rights, and rights to carry out lawful occupation," the petition reads in part.

Dr Besigye also, "wants an order for general damages for the inconvenience and mental anguish" he has suffered as a result of the actions of government security agents.

He also wants the government to pay him costs of the case and aggravated damages as compensation for the injury to his dignity caused by the "callous manner" through which police treat him.

The police have confined Dr Besigye his home in Kasangati since February 20, two days after the disputed presidential elections in which President Museveni was declared winner with 60.7 per cent of the vote and would see him extend his 30-year rule to 35.

Dr Besigye, according to the Electoral Commission, polled 35 per cent of the vote. Prior to his house-confinement which government defends as a "preventive" arrest, Besigye was apprehended and detained by police at least nine times in the first two weeks after the election.

Dr Besigye's lead counsel Peter Walubiri told Daily Monitor yesterday that a date for the hearing of the petition was yet to be fixed. "This morning, I wrote to the registrar seeking an urgent date set but haven't received a response yet."

The US and other Western donor partners have variously castigated the government's continued house arrest of Dr Besigye "without legal justification" and described the action as "unacceptable in a free and democratic society."

Source: All Africa