Human Rights defender Nicholas Opiyo has been released from Kitalya mini-maximum security prison on Wednesday after Anti-Corruption Court granted him a shs 15 million bail.
While he virtually appeared before Judge Okua Kajuga, a group of lawyers, friends and partners later picked Opiyo from Kitalya, 70kms away from Kampala.
It was an emotional moment as Opiyo received met his people a few metres from the security facility.
As Court granted him bail, Opiyo was directed to report to the Registrar every two weeks and also to surrender his passport to the registrar of Anti-Corruption Division.
The judge 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, welcomed his release and warned there will be consequences for human rights abusers.
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.
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.