A Ugandan pop-star-turned-opposition lawmaker on Saturday said he had arrived in the US for medical care after allegedly being tortured while in detention.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, said on Twitter that he experienced “brutal torture” by soldiers of the presidential guard, allegations the Ugandan government has denied.
Ssentamu posted a photograph of himself in an airport corridor, sitting in a wheelchair and holding crutches, although it was not clear which city he was in.
Ssentamu left Uganda late on Friday after an attempt to leave the previous day was blocked by officials who said he needed to get clearance from the government because of his allegations of torture.
The holding of Ssentamu caused sporadic protests in some parts of the capital, Kampala.
Ssentamu and several other lawmakers are charged with treason over an incident on Aug. 13 in which the president’s motorcade was pelted with stones. Ssentamu was released on bail on Monday last week.
Video footage posted by human rights attorney Nicholas Opiyo showed the 36-year-old singer in his trademark red beret and carrying crutches as he was wheeled to the departure gate late on Friday, saluting and thanking supporters along the way.
Another lawmaker who on Thursday last week was blocked from flying to India for treatment, Francis Zaake, was still being held in a hospital on Friday night.
Ssentamu has emerged as a powerful opposition voice among youth frustrated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, 74, who has been in power for 32 years and oversaw a constitutional change last year to remove an age limit on the presidency.
The singer won a parliament seat last year without the backing of a political party.
Dozens of global musicians, including Chris Martin, Angelique Kidjo and Brian Eno, last week issued an open letter condemning the treatment of Ssentamu, who in his first public appearance after his arrest had to walk with support and appeared to cry.
The treason charges have heightened concerns about a crackdown on the opposition in the east African nation.
Museveni, a close US security ally, has spoken in recent days about “unprincipled politicians taking advantage of our unemployed youth to lure them into riots and demonstrations.”
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable