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International brief ~ Uganda judge refuses to dismiss Besigye treason case

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, a Ugandan high court judge has refused to grant a defense motion that would have dismissed charges of treason and concealment of treason [JURIST report] against Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye [BBC profile]. Besigye's lawyers had argued that the prosecution's indictment of Besigye was "incurably defective" and the charges should be dismissed. The high court judge held that while the indictment was flawed, it contained "sufficient information" to justify a trial on both charges. The judge postponed the case until April 4, to allow Besigye's lawyers time to conduct their legal challenge [JURIST report] of the results of February's national elections. The Ugandan Electoral Commission [official website], meanwhile, on Thursday released final results [EC tally; Xinhua report] from last month's elections. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] won 59 percent of the vote, with Besigye following with 37 percent. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Uganda [JURIST news archive]. The Daily Monitor has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • The Sudanese government [official website] has closed offices of one of the only local human rights groups working in the war-torn Darfur region [JURIST news archive]. Government coordinator for humanitarian agencies al-Tijani Tajeddin told reporters that the Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO) [advocacy website] had failed to submit its mandate to the government as required by the national NGO law and that their offices would remain closed until they did so. SUDO chief Mudawi Ibrahim disputed the claim, saying that SUDO had already submitted its mandate, but told reporters that they would resubmit and hope for an order allowing re-opening on Thursday. SUDO has regularly been targeted by government officials for investigations and disruptions, a fact which Ibrahim alleges stems from the government's dislike of their involvement in the Darfur region. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

  • The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website], the leading opposition group in Zimbabwe, has harshly criticized the arrest of Zimbabwean MP Timothy Mubhawu for allegedly insulting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] as another demonstration of Mugabe's attempt to silence any opposition. Mubhawu allegedly asked Zimbabwean soldiers he had given a ride why "do you let Mugabe let you suffer?" One of the soldiers reported the statement and Mubhawu was arrested Tuesday night for violating the country's strict laws against denigrating the head of state. Mubhawu is currently being detained pending a hearing and will be represented by MDC lawyers. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. IRIN News has more.

  • The Nepal government attorney (equivalent to the solicitor-general) has ordered Kathmandu police to open an investigation into Surya Nath Upadhyay [official profile], the chief commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) [official website] for alleged abuse of his office in the early 1990s, when he was a low-level government secretary. Upadhyay has been indicated in an ongoing scandal involving the forgery of documents needed to apply for citizenship in Nepal. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. eKantipur has local coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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