Ugandan Court Orders Authorities to Free Bobi Wine From House Arrest

Uganda’s High Court ordered the security forces to free opposition leader Bobi Wine from house arrest, ruling that his continued confinement was unlawful and infringed on his personal rights.

Wine, a pop star-turned-politician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has been detained at his home in the capital, Kampala, since Jan. 15, a day after elections that the opposition said were rigged. President Yoweri Museveni secured a sixth straight term, with 58.6% of the votes cast and Wine 34.8%, according to official results.

High Court Judge Michael Elubu’s order to free Wine will now be served on the police and army, which have occupied his compound, his lawyer Ukasha Ssekajja said by phone from Kampala.

In an interview with 702 Talk Radio at the weekend, Wine said his plans to challenge the election outcome in court were being frustrated by the authorities. He said he’d run out of food before his lawyers finally gained access to him last week, and that members of the military assaulted his wife when she ventured into their garden.

“The police are supposed to keep law and order,” Wine told the Johannesburg-based broadcaster. “They have no regard for the law whatsoever.”

The U.S., European Union and local civil-rights groups raised concerns about violence and intimidation of the opposition in the lead-up to the election and questioned the integrity of the vote. At least 54 people died after protests erupted following Wine’s arrest in November.

The opposition leader accused the military of taking control of the election, and said there is video evidence of them stuffing ballot boxes and forcing people to vote for the incumbent at gunpoint. Declarations from polling stations show different numbers from those released by the electoral commission, Wine said.

Museveni and the electoral body have both denied that the vote was rigged and called for the results to be respected.

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