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Uganda president seeks to appease striking judges with arrest reforms

[JURIST] Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] announced Tuesday that police would implement more transparent procedures for re-arresting suspects released by the courts in an effort to appease the country's judiciary, which went on strike [JURIST report] Monday. Despite these promises, one of Uganda's most senior judges, Justice James Ogoola [New Vision profile], said the judges and lawyers would continue their strike until they received a comprehensive statement from the cabinet. Ogoola criticized the government for undermining the independence of the judiciary by detaining suspects that the court had released on bail.

The judicial strike came in response to a siege of the Ugandan High Court [Reuters report] last week where security agents surrounded the 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. The International Commission of Jurists [advocacy website] has criticized [press release] the government for interfering with judicial independence by intimidating lawyers and judges with armed agents. BBC News has more. The New Vision has local coverage.

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