Uganda opposition leader freed on bail

Uganda's main opposition leader Kizza Besigye gives evidence during his trial for treason in Kampala, on May 18, 2016 (AFP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi) (AFP/File)

Kampala (AFP) - Uganda's main opposition leader Kizza Besigye was granted bail Tuesday in his ongoing treason trial in the capital Kampala.

High Court judge Wilson Musene granted the former presidential candidate bail during a hearing on Tuesday morning.

"I'm very, very happy to be free, for now," Besigye said outside the court.

Besigye was arrested in May and charged with treason after releasing a video in which he held a mock swearing-in ceremony to protest what he claims was a fraudulent election in February, won by President Yoweri Museveni.

An official from Beisgye's Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party said the bail decision showed the "regaining of credibility" by the judiciary which is sometimes accused of being under the government's thumb.

Treason is a capital offence in Uganda, but the death penalty has not been carried out for years. Besigye has been held in the country's maximum security prison since his arrest.

A long-standing opponent of Museveni, Besigye has been frequently jailed, placed under house arrest, accused of both treason and rape, tear-gassed, beaten and hospitalised over the years.

Museveni, 71, has been in power for three decades since taking power at the head of a rebel army.