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Some of music’s biggest names, including Chris Martin, Angelique Kidjo and Damon Albarn, have signed a petition calling for the release of Bobi Wine, a Ugandan MP and pop star. The opposition politician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has been in detention for more than a week. The musicians have condemned his “vicious” treatment in custody.

More than 80 artists, including Chris Martin (L), Angelique Kidjo (C) and Damon Albarn (R), want Bobi Wine freed

Bobi Wine’s lawyers say he has been seriously assaulted in detention, which the military denies.

He is due to appear before a military court on Thursday to face charges relating to the illegal possession of firearms.

The petition was started by Rikki Stein, the former manager for Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti – a fearless critic of Nigeria’s military regimes during his lifetime.

“It’s like a re-run of Fela. He was often beaten for speaking out,” he told the BBC.

The more than 80 signatories also include Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, U2 bassist Adam Clayton, The Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde and Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel.

Why was Bobi Wine arrested?

He was detained, along with more than 30 other people, in the run-up to last week’s bitterly fought by-election in the north-western town of Arua.

He and President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, were in the area campaigning for their rival candidates.

The authorities say opposition lawmakers led supporters to attack the president’s convoy with stones. Bobi Wine’s driver was later shot dead.

The ruling party went on to lose the seat to opposition candidate Kassiano Wadri, who also remains in custody and is facing treason charges.

The authorities say weapons and ammunition were found in Bobi Wine’s hotel room in Arua.

The charges are widely viewed as politically motivated and aimed at silencing a prominent critic of the president.

BBC

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