A veteran Uganda opposition figure Kizza Besigye was released on Monday after a court slashed his cash bail that forced him to spend nearly two weeks in custody, his lawyer and an aide said.
Kizza Besigye was charged with inciting violence on May 25 after being detained a day earlier in Kampala while rallying supporters to protest rising commodity prices.
He was granted bail after being charged, but only on the condition that he pay 30 million shillings ($8,000.00) in cash, which his lawyer called “outrageous.”
Besigye refused to pay and instead chose to be imprisoned. His lawyers then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court to have the amount reduced.
On Monday, a judge reduced Besigye’s bail to 3 million shillings, which he paid.
“We do appreciate what the court has decided, bringing it (bail cash) down. … It is a significant reduction,” Besigye’s lawyer Erias Lukwago told reporters after the ruling. His client was preparing to pay the money so he could be released, Lukwago added.
Ronald Muhinda, Besigye’s aide, tweeted that he had been released hours after the judge’s ruling.
Ugandans have been outraged by a sharp increase in the prices of a variety of goods, including fuel, cooking oil, soap, wheat, and others.
Besigye has led opposition calls for tax cuts or other measures to limit the impact of inflation on consumers, but President Yoweri Museveni has refused, blaming high prices on the Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has been imprisoned numerous times and has lost four elections to Museveni, 77. He contested the results, claiming that they were tainted by intimidation and rigging.
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