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UN rights chief voices alarm at Uganda unrest

Geneva, Wednesday

The UN human rights chief voiced alarm Wednesday at the unrest rocking Uganda over the arrests and alleged torture of several parliamentarians, including a music pop star.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on Kampala to ensure there is an independent investigation of the violence, including allegations of extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force by police and torture.

Singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, was released on bail on Monday after two weeks in detention but is due back in court on Thursday.

He and 33 others, including two fellow MPs, are facing treason charges in a case that has triggered international outcry.

They were arrested in mid-August after stones were thrown at President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy, breaking a car window as he visited the town of Arua on the eve of a parliamentary by-election.

Zeid, whose term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ends on Friday, told reporters he had “deep concerns about reports regarding events that have unfolded since August 13” in Uganda.

That day, Kyagulanyi’s driver was shot dead while waiting in a parked car while the former singer and three other MPs, a former parliamentarian and an MP-elect were arrested, he said, citing information provided to his office.

Twenty-eight others were also detained, including two women and two journalists, he said, adding that those held were facing charges ranging from treason to incitement to violence and the illegal possession of firearms.   -AFP

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