Leading Ugandan opposition leader and candidate of the Forum for Democratic Change Kizza Besigye, has written to the country’s Chief Justice to complain about what he calls his “mistreatment” in prison.
Besigye was arrested and charged with treason in May after a presidential swearing in ceremony which was circulated on social media platforms.
The letter made public by his sister, Olive Kobusingye, who visited him last Friday. She said the letter was a plea to Chief Justice Bart Katureebe “to take a stand because evil triumphs when good people do nothing”.
“The main purpose of the letter was to bring to the attention of the Chief Justice the various complaints that he has related from how he was arrested, not just on this current imprisonment but over the last so many years and the various abuses that he suffered under both the Ugandan police but also the judiciary that was supposed to be defending his rights, but up until now does not seem to do so,” she said.
In the letter, Besigye reportedly recounted his treatment by the government and the legal system over the years, beginning with his participation in the 2001 presidential election.
Besigye outlined that he was hauled before a magistrate and charged with treason.
“Once more, I did not have legal representation and even when I tried to raise my concerns at that time, the presiding magistrate refused to listen to the concerns I wished to address him on and advised that these should be raised with the prison authorities or the High Court,” Besigye said in the letter.
A government spokesperson, Shaban Bantariza, following the arrest said Besigye was detained because he declared himself ‘an alternative president’ and that his actions ‘openly declared his intensions to topple the government’
Besigye was also charged with treason in 2005, but a judge dismissed the case saying the evidence was insufficient.