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Uganda treason suspects sue government over alleged torture

[JURIST] Sixteen Ugandan men who were arrested and charged with treason along with defeated presidential candidate Kizza Besigye [BBC profile, JURIST news archive], claim that they were tortured by state security agents while in custody and are suing the Ugandan government for allegedly violating their "fundamental and non-derogable rights and freedoms," their lawyer said Tuesday. The men allege that they were kicked, beaten and threatened in an attempt to force them to confess to being rebels against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile]. The group is seeking damages exceeding $1 million (USD) for human rights violations in violation of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda [text]. A spokesman of the Ugandan military has denied the torture allegations.

The sixteen men have been associated with Besigye's Forum for Democratic Change [party website], which is challenging [JURIST report] the February 23 presidential elections [JURIST report] in the Ugandan Supreme Court [official website]. The hearings in the election challenge are scheduled to begin Wednesday and Besigye's trial on treason charges [JURIST report] is scheduled to begin in April. Reuters has more. Uganda's Daily Monitor has local coverage.

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