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The Latest: Ugandan pop singer blocked from leaving for US

August 30, 2018

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The Latest on Uganda’s opposition (all times local):

11 p.m.

A lawyer says Ugandan pop star-turned opposition lawmaker Bobi Wine has been checked into a hospital in the capital, Kampala, after police blocked him from flying to the United States for treatment after alleged torture.

Asuman Basalirwa tells reporters that the singer, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, is in “a worrying” condition.  

Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo says on Twitter that Ssentamu and colleague Francis Zaake, who was blocked from traveling to India, can travel “after government doctors have examined them to ascertain their conditions.”

Lawyers for both lawmakers say they were tortured by security forces after being arrested earlier this month for their alleged roles in an incident in which the presidential motorcade was pelted with stones.  

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10:05 p.m.

A lawmaker says the Ugandan pop star-turned opposition figure known as Bobi Wine has been blocked from traveling to the United States for treatment. The singer faces a treason charge that has outraged Ugandans after he alleged he was severely tortured while in detention.

Asuman Basalirwa tells The Associated Press that the singer, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was stopped from boarding a plane by officials who gave no explanation.

Another lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo, says on Twitter that police “violently abducted” Ssentamu, put him into a police ambulance and drove him to an unknown location.

Ssentamu and over 30 others have been charged with treason for their roles in an incident in which President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade was pelted with stones.

Lawmaker Francis Zaake earlier Thursday also was prevented from boarding a plane to seek treatment in India for injuries sustained while in custody.

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4:30 p.m.

A Ugandan lawyer says an injured opposition lawmaker has been blocked from traveling abroad for treatment because he lacks clearance from the police.

Asuman Basalirwa tells The Associated Press that Francis Zaake, who has been hospitalized with injuries he allegedly sustained at the hands of security forces while in detention, failed to travel to India on Thursday.

Zaake was arrested earlier this month alongside pop star-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine and others over an incident in which President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade was pelted with stones.

Bobi Wine, whose name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, and his co-accused are charged with treason.

Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo says on Twitter that Zaake escaped police custody “and should be arrested at the earliest. He could be trying to escape from justice.”

Zaake has not been charged.

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