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Ugandan pop-star-turned-MP Bobi Wine allowed to leave the country, official says

Ugandan youth movement leader Bobi Wine has been allowed to leave the country, Patrick Onyango, the deputy s...

Posted: Sep 1, 2018 3:41 PM
Updated: Sep 1, 2018 3:41 PM

Ugandan youth movement leader Bobi Wine has been allowed to leave the country, Patrick Onyango, the deputy spokesperson of the Uganda Police Force, told CNN on Friday.

The pop-star-turned-MP boarded a KLM flight out of Entebbe Airport, Wine's lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo, said Friday on Twitter.

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The day before, Opiyo tweeted that Wine had been "violently arrested" and "bundled into a police ambulance" as he was on his way out of the country to seek medical treatment in the United States.

In a statement issued Friday, Uganda's Police Force said they had to prevent Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, from traveling in order to give him a medical check-up so they could investigate allegations that he was tortured.

"As a result, Hon Kyagulanyi was halted from departure and was taken to Mulago National Referral Hospital (Kiruddu Complex) in company of specialist doctors from the same hospital for the purpose mentioned above," the statement said.

Wine has been allowed to leave the medical facility because he underwent a medical examination, police statement said.

Human rights group Chapter Four Uganda, where Opiyo serves as executive director, has tweeted that "medical records obtained without free & full consent of the legislator cannot be used as evidence."

Wine was first arrested by the military on August 15 after rioting broke out between rival parties ahead of a local parliamentary election.

His youth movement has rattled the regime of President Yoweri Museveni, and he has been in and out of court since then, most recently having been freed on bail Monday.

Wine was heading to the airport Thursday when police arrested him and took him to a government-owned hospital, according to his legal team.

Another of his attorneys, Robert Amsterdam, alleged Uganda's special forces tortured the MP in the ambulance that took him to the hospital, while a doctor watched. Police also prevented MP Francis Zaake from leaving Uganda on Thursday, saying he was a suspect in a criminal case.

Onyango, the police spokesman, denied the MPs were tortured in custody and accused them of attempting to flee the country.

"He (Wine) was put in an ambulance well equipped with all the equipment you can think of, so they were really basically handled in a professional way," Onyango told CNN.

Pockets of protests broke out in Kampala on Friday, as angry youths took to the streets to protest the MP's arrest.

Police and soldiers moved through the city, particularly downtown Kamwokya, where Wine's studio is located, to quell demonstrations by his supporters, who had blocked roads in the neighborhood with rocks and tyres.

Musicians around the world such as Chris Martin, Angelique Kidjo, Damon Albarn and others joined the campaign to #FreeBobiWine.

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