GULU, Ugandan pop musician turned Member of Parliament Bobi Wine was freed on bail Monday, the latest twist in a legal odyssey he’s been enmeshed in for nearly two weeks.
Wine appeared before the Gulu High Court Monday alongside 11 others charged with treason.
The politician arrived in court limping and walking with the aid of crutches.
Justice Stephen Mubiru, the presiding judge, declined the prosecutor’s request to hold the accused’s passports.
Immediately after his release, Wine was whisked into an ambulance stationed outside the court.
The pop star, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was first arrested by the military on August 15 after rioting broke out between rival parties ahead of a local parliamentary election.
His lawyer Erias Lukwago had previously told journalits that his client was tortured.
Wine appeared before a military court last week on a weapons charge, which was withdrawn.
The court ruled that Wine and others should be tried in a civil court for treason instead.
Wine is the leader of a youth movement that has rattled the regime of President Yoweri Museveni.
He was arrested alongside other opposition politicians after rioting broke out between rival parties ahead of a local parliamentary election.
Museveni took to social media last week to dismiss allegations the MPs were tortured in detention.
He said in a statement that doctors who examined the lawmaker said he had sustained “no head or chest injuries or bone fractures.”
Wine’s detention sparked mass protests in the country, leading to a large military presence on the streets of Uganda. Museveni accused Wine and his supporters of intimidating voters and rigging the election in the district.
One person died after a police officer fired on a minibus. Five others were injured during the shooting, police spokesman Emillian Kayima said.
There have been large-scale demonstrations online and on the streets of Uganda to #FreeBobiWine, and musicians around the world such as Chris Martin, Angelique Kidjo, Damon Albarn and others have joined the campaign.
Museveni has ruled Uganda for nearly 33 years and recently got parliament to amend the constitution to drop age limits on leadership.