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Envoys Ask Uganda Govt to Free Besigye

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EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt told journalists that the meeting discussed a wide range of issues which included the continued incarceration of Dr Besigye both at his home and in different police stations, possible court action to challenge the outcome of the February 18th general election and use of language that can lead to violence.
The EU has asked government not to restrict Kizza Besigye's movement

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A group of foreign envoys have this afternoon called upon the Police force to release Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential contender Dr Kizza Besigye.

The envoys included; the European Union Head of Mission  Kristian Schmidt, Patricia Mahoney, the Deputy Chief of Mission U.S. Embassy Kampala, the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom Alison Blackburn, the Dutch, French and Irish Ambassadors.

Their call came after meeting with Dr Besigye and FDC party president Mugisha Muntu at Besigye's home in Kasangati, Wakiso district.

EU Ambassador Kristian Schmidt told journalists that the meeting discussed a wide range of issues which included the continued incarceration of Dr Besigye both at his home and in different police stations, possible court action to challenge the outcome of the February 18 general election and use of language that can lead to violence.

"We consider the continued custody of Dr Besigye as a clear violation of his basic freedom and human rights. Fundamental freedoms must be respected," Schmidt says.

Patricia Mahoney, the Deputy Chief of Mission U.S. Embassy Kampala said the opposition should be allowed to exercise its role and mandate in Uganda.

"We believe that the opposition has a legitimate role to play and government should allow it to play that role," Mahoney says.

The envoys also encouraged Besigye to go to court over the alleged rigging of the February 18 presidential election.

Results announced by the Electoral Commission indicate that the National Resistance Movement party candidate Yoweri Museveni garnered 5,971,872 and emerged victor with 60.6 percent against 3, 508,687 votes obtained by Dr Kizza Besigye representing 35.61 percent of the total votes cast.

But the general public believes that the polls were rigged to make Museveni the ultimate winner.

The US Embassy in Kampala also released a statement this afternoon calling on Ugandan authorities to release Dr Kizza Besigye from house arrest and to permit him to travel freely.

“We note that Dr. Besigye has been under near continuous police detention since the February 18 election, has not been charged with any crime, and was denied his constitutional right to participate in the February 24 election,” the statement reads.

The statement says that the Electoral Commission's delay in releasing polling data, along with Dr. Besigye's detention and arrest of party agents, has inhibited citizens' ability to verify vote tallies and potentially challenge the election results in court within the constitutionally mandated ten-day period.

“Officials of all parties, including the opposition, must be allowed to provide their leadership with polling data collected during the vote, free from intimidation or threat of detention, in accordance with international norms and the principles of a democratic society,” It adds.