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Uganda lawyers vote to strike in support of judges

[JURIST] The Uganda Law Society (ULS) [profession website] announced Tuesday that lawyers would initiate a three-day strike as a protest against government interference with judicial independence. Uganda's judges are currently on a week-long strike following last week's siege of the nation's High Court by security forces [JURIST report]. The lawyer strike is set to begin once judges reopen the courts. ULS members also voted to suspend five society members in high-level government positions, including Minister for Security Amama Mbabazi [Wikipedia profile], Coordinator for Intelligence Services Gen. David Tinyefuza [official profile], and Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya [official profile], for their suspected roles in initiating the siege.

Last Thursday Ugandan security agents surrounded the High Court building and arrested six supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besiyge [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] who had been charged with treason but released on bail. The agents beat the suspects and pistol-whipped their lawyer unconscious with a rifle butt, according to witnesses. In an effort to halt the strike, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] announced Tuesday [JURIST report] that police would implement more transparent procedures for re-arresting suspects released by the courts. From Kampala, The Monitor has local coverage.

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