Ugandan pop star MP flies to US for treatment

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KAMPALA: Ugandan singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi has left Uganda for medical treatment in the United States following accusations he was tortured by security forces, his lawyer told AFP on Saturday.

The 36-year-old reggae star — better known as Bobi Wine — had spent Friday holed up in a government hospital after being re-arrested while trying to leave the country.

Kyagulanyi became an MP in 2017, firing up a youthful population and proving a thorn in the side of ageing President Yoweri Museveni.

He was charged with treason last week after protesters stoned Museveni’s car during a by-election campaign.

The lawmaker’s arrest sparked violent protests and international condemnation over his alleged torture.

“He left last night at around 11.OO pm aboard KLM flight for Schipol (Amsterdam) onward to United States,” lawyer Nicholas Opiyo said.

“He was in the company of his wife, Barbie and brother Daks Sentamu.”

Released on bail on Monday, Kyagulanyi was seized again by police on Thursday evening at Entebbe airport, outside the capital Kampala, his lawyers said.

He was taken to the governent’s Kiruddu General Hospital in Kampala, where, the MP’s international lawyer Robert Amsterdam said he had locked himself in a room with his wife and refused access to army doctors.

“The doctor who oversaw Bobi’s torture is part of the team trying to access him,” Amsterdam said

Supporters say he had been badly beaten and tortured while in army custody, during and after his arrest in the northwestern town of Arua earlier this month, and required medical treatment abroad.

On Friday, Ugandan chief justice Bart Katureebe issued a public reminder that the constitution bans torture.

“Security forces, when you are arresting Ugandans, arrest them like human beings not animals,” he said.