Uganda's Bobi Wine Flies Abroad for Treatment After Alleged Torture

Bobi Wine describes 'torture' by soldiers.
1 September 2018

Pop star-turned-opposition politician Bobi Wine, aka Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has flown out of Uganda, his lawyers say. Police had detained him during a previous attempt to travel abroad.

Ugandan pop star and politician Bobi Wine, who has been a prominent critic of President Yoweri Museveni, flew out of the country late on Friday to seek medical treatment abroad after being prevented from doing so a day previously, his lawyers said on Saturday.

Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, departed Entebbe International Airport on a KLM flight near midnight, his lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo, said on Twitter.

The video posted by Opiyo showed Sssentamu in his trademark red beret in a wheelchair. It was not immediately clear what his destination was.

In the tweet, Opiyo said efforts would now be made to ensure that another lawmaker, Francis Zaake, who was also blocked from flying to India for treatment on Thursday, could leave the country.

Alleged beatings and torture

Ssentamu, along with several other lawmakers, has been charged with treason over an incident in which Museveni's convoy was stoned by protesters earlier this month. He was released on bail on Monday after being charged and had been under no travel restrictions.

Both Sssentamu and Zaake say they were beaten up and tortured by security forces during their detentions. The government has denied the allegations.

Ssentamu, 36, who was elected to parliament last year, has attracted large numbers of youthful supporters through his criticism of Museveni, who has been in power for 32 years and seems set to rule for life after the constitutional age limit on the presidency was removed.

The 74-year-old politician has spoken recently about "unprincipled politicians taking advantage of our unemployed youth to lure them into riots and demonstrations."

Ssentamu's arrest on Thursday evening led to violent protests in the capital, Kampala, on Friday and drew international condemnation.

tj/jlw (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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