KAMPALA — Anti-Corruption High Court in Kampala has released on a UGX15m bail, Human Rights Lawyer Nicholas Opio and also directed him report to the Registrar every two weeks.
Judge Jane Okuo Kajuga to surrender his passport to the registrar of Anti-Corruption Division.
Kajuga noted that even though it was a serious charge, bail was a constitutional right and that Mr. Opiyo met all the conditions for bail and that he had a permanent place of aboard.
“However serious a charge is, it all but remains an allegation. Courts are expected not to deny bail as a punishment,” Justice Kajuga noted.
Opiyo is the Executive Director of Chapter Four, a leading non-profit legal and advocacy organisation focused on defending civil liberties, and has won several international awards for his work.
The US Ambassy in Uganda, welcome his release and warned there will be consequences for human rights abusers.
His arrest came at a tense juncture ahead of January elections in which 76-year-old President Yoweri Museveni is seeking a sixth term, facing popular young contender, singer and MP Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine’s arrest on charges of breaking Covid-19 regulations last month led to protests in which at least 100 people were killed.
President Museveni blamed the violence on external forces wanting to destabilise Uganda.
Opiyo has recently been a vocal critic of a crackdown on the opposition and on civil society organisations in Uganda, and was representing two NGO’s whose bank accounts were frozen several weeks ago on accusations of financing terrorist activities.
The organisations in question were involved in civic education and election monitoring.
Several foreign NGO workers involved in election monitoring have also been deported from Uganda.
In September, Opiyo spoke on social media of a break-in at his home where he said his laptop, hard drives, phones and cameras were stolen. He said that when he tracked his phones online, they were located in the area of military headquarters in Kampala.