Publishedduration25 minutes agoimage copyrightReutersimage captionUgandan MP and singer Bobi Wine appeared in court this week

Ugandan presidential candidate Bobi Wine has been released on bail after being charged with spreading coronavirus.

The court ruled on Friday after Mr Wine, 38, held a large rally this week.

Human rights groups say the virus charge is a pretext to suppress political opposition ahead of the 14 January election.

Protests broke out and 37 people died in clashes when the politician, also a pop star, was arrested this week.

The musician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, is among 11 candidates challenging President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.

  • The pop star seeking 'people power'
  • ‘Red, red wine': The meaning of African election symbols
  • Africa Live: More updates from around the continent

Human Rights Watch says it is clear that the Ugandan authorities are using Covid-19 guidelines to repress opposition and that the governing party has held large campaign events.

In June Bobi Wine vowed to defy a ban on holding campaign rallies during the pandemic. He accused President Museveni of "fearing the people", suggesting the prohibition was motivated by politics.