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Jury urges 'not guilty' rape verdict for Uganda opposition leader

[JURIST] Ugandan court officials announced Wednesday that a jury has recommended that Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], currently beset by several legal actions he claims are politically-motivated, be found not guilty of raping a woman in 1997 and 1998. Besigye's fate nonetheless remains unclear, as a High Court judge must still announce the final verdict in the case. Besigye also faces charges for terrorism and illegal firearms violations [JURIST report]. Earlier Wednesday, the Ugandan Constitutional Court [official website] dropped all military court martial charges against Besigye [JURIST report], ruling that facing charges in both civilian and military courts for the same alleged crime is unconstitutional, though portions of the decision will be appealed [VOA report] by both the government and the Uganda Law Society. Besigye is challenging the 20 year rule of President Yoweri Museveni [official website; BBC profile]. Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have also protested the charges against Besigye [HRW press release]. BBC News has more.

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