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Bobi Wine free for now as State drops charges at military court

Bobi Wine, the Ugandan MP who has been facing treason and illegal arms possession charges, is free, at least for now.

The Ugandan government on Thursday withdrew the charges it had filed at General Court Martial in Gulu.

This followed a spirited fight for his release by his lawyer who opposed his continued lock-up.

“The court is not an instrument of arresting. The gentleman seated right there was beaten and his rights were abused. My prayer is he should be freed and he gets medication. He needs urgent medical care,” lawyer Medard Lubega Segona, who is also the Busiro East MP, told the military court.

The state prosecution told the military court that they wanted the MP handed over to police for further investigations and possibly face charges in a civilian court.

The MP’s lawyers welcomed the withdrawal of charges but objected to him being handed over to the police.

In its final ruling, the Court Martial refused to transfer the case to a civilian court, saying it would be “double jeopardy” to the lawmaker.

The reasoning was that if the state had decided to withdraw the charges against the MP in a military court, it makes no sense to subject him to the same case in a different court of law.

Accordingly, Chairman of the Court Martial, Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti, sent the state back to the drawing board just in case it still wants to punish Mr Wine.

Police and the army, who arrested Mr Wine, will have to investigate the MP and the chaos that rocked Arua Municipality by-election and lodge fresh charges, this time, in a civilian court.

Inside the court, Mr Wine, who was accused of possessing weapons of calibre reserved for the military, was seen celebrating his freedom with the defence team.

However, there are growing fears that the fast-rising MP, who has challenged both President Yoweri Museveni and his arch-rival Kizza Besigye and their dominance in Uganda politics, may be re-arrested anytime.

Daily Nation

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