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Uganda opposition presidential candidate arrested

[JURIST] Kizza Besigye, the opposition candidate for president of Uganda, was arrested with several of his supporters on Friday. Besigye was arrested [NYT report] as the election commission released early results that showed incumbent President Yoweri Museveni leading the election with 62 percent of the vote and Besigye trailing with 33 percent. The police arrested Besigye as he and his supporters were tallying votes, which they claim show that the opposition was beating the president by 7 percentage points. Besigye has since been released, but criticism of the government's actions have increased, citing late opening of polling stations and the government's blocking of social media and mobile money sites on election day in the capital. This is the second time this week that Besigye has been arrested; on Thursday he attempted to enter a police station to claim that the voting was rigged.

In April 2011 Besigye was arrested [JURIST report] in connection with protests against increasing food and fuel costs. Besigye is the leader of the Uganda's most prominent opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change. He lost to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni in previous elections that were criticized by the opposition as fraudulent. Besigye also ran for president in 2002 and 2006, and, prior to that, he was Museveni's personal doctor. In October 2010 Uganda's Constitutional Court unanimously dismissed treason charges [JURIST report] against Besigye and 10 co-defendants, ruling that there was insufficient evidence and that the state had violated the defendants' rights. Besigye had been charged [JURIST report] with plotting to forcefully overthrow the Ugandan government between 2001 and 2004 but had always maintained his innocence, calling the charges against him politically motivated.

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