A step toward opening HIV care to LGBTI Ugandans

Groups of Ugandan key affected populations meet at the Grand Global Hotel  on Jan. 29 to nominate representatives to serve on the Country Coordinating Mechanism panel, which helps decide about HIV services in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association)

Groups of Ugandan key affected populations meet at the Grand Global Hotel on Jan. 29 to nominate representatives to serve on the Country Coordinating Mechanism panel, which helps decide about HIV services in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association)

LGBTI people, sex workers and drug users in Uganda have moved a step closer to having representatives on the health policy panel that could improve their access to HIV services.

A previous election to choose representatives of those key population groups — groups with elevated risk of HIV infection — was ruled invalid earlier this month on procedural grounds. As a result, those groups still have no official representatives on the Ugandan health policy panel known as the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM).

In a gathering at Kampala’s Grand Global Hotel on Jan. 29, five key population groups chose five nominees each for seats on the CCM panel.  In a new election scheduled for Feb. 5, those nominees will meet and choose a total of two of their number to serve on the CCM.

The CCM oversees programs and makes key decisions about requests for funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which finances many of Uganda’s anti-AIDS efforts.

Kuchu Times reported that Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has been seeking representation on the CCM since 2010, according to SMUG executive director Frank Mugisha.  In the past, he said, because effective representation was lacking, key affected populations have not benefited from Global Fund projects.

The Global Fund now requires every nation’s CCM to include representatives of key affected populations, because their health needs have often been neglected in many countries, particularly in those, like Uganda, where same-sex intimacy is a criminal offense.

For example, among Ugandan men who have sex with men (MSM), the HIV infection rate is an estimated 12 to 33 percent, compared to 7.3 percent for all Ugandans.

In the nomination results from Jan. 29:

  • Drug users selected five nominees from Mbale, Wakiso, Gheto Youth-Kampala-Kawempe Division, Nakasongola and Kampala Central Division.
  • Sex workers selected five nominees from Kampala (2), Mbarara, Malaba and Gulu).
  • MSM and transgender groups each selected five nominees.
  • Another group of key affected populations, including LGBTI, selected five nominees, including Mugisha of SMUG and Kikonyogo Kivumbi of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association.

 Related articles:

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), HIV / AIDS, Positive steps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tanzania: Trans man, wife arrested on gay-sex charges

Tanzanian newspaper coverage of the case in Swahili. The headline states, "beautiful girls arrested for homosexuality." The photos depict Maua Sadick, Lucy Fred and police commander Mary Nzuki.

Tanzanian newspaper coverage of the case in Swahili. The headline states, “beautiful girls arrested for homosexuality.” The photos depict Maua Sadick, Lucy Fred and police commander Mary Nzuki.

Police in Tanzania have arrested a trans man and his female partner on suspicion of violating the Tanzanian law against same-sex intimacy.

News of the Jan. 12 arrest, and the couple’s photos, were splashed across the pages of  Uwazi, a local Swahili-language newspaper published by Global Publishers with the headline “Beautiful girls arrested for homosexuality.”

Trans man Maua Sadick, 24, and his partner/wife Lucy Fred, 23, were detained for two days after their arrest near Dar es Salaam city. The arrests came after their neighbors told police that they suspected the two people were married and in a same-sex relationship.

The newspaper Uwazi published these photos of Lucy Fred (left) and Maua Sadick.

The newspaper Uwazi published these photos of Lucy Fred (left) and Maua Sadick.

Sadick and Fred are currently awaiting the outcome of a police investigation that will determine whether the case is referred for prosecution, a local LGBTI rights activist reported.

Mary Nzuki (shown in the photo above), a regional police commander for the Ilala region, where Sadick and Fred were arrested, is quoted in the Uwazi article as saying that she arrested the couple and that investigation is still in process.

In recent years, there have been some arrests, but no prosecutions, in Tanzania for alleged violations of the law against “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”   On paper, that law provides for violators to be  imprisoned for 20 years to life.

In addition to the law about sex “against the order of nature,” Tanzanian courts also consider anal sex and attempted anal sex, no matter by whom, to be an indecent act that is punishable by up to five years in prison.

A law in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous Tanzanian island, provides for up to five years in prison and a fine of 500,000 shillings (about US $330) for  women caught having sex with another woman.

Another law in Zanzibar calls for up to seven years in prison for anyone who:

  • Enters or arranges a union, whether amounting to same-sex marriage or same-sex relationship, with a person of the same sex;
  • Celebrates a union with another person of the same sex, whether amounting to marriage or not; or
  • Lives as husband and wife with another person of the same sex.

Tanzanian human rights activists are seeking the repeal of all those laws.

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Anti-LGBT laws and legislation, Harassment / murders | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Video: Malaysian prison turned her into a trans activist

“They asked me to strip naked in front of everyone. They made fun of me, because my body doesn’t conform to what men and women are supposed to be.” 

– Nisha Ayub of Malaysia, describing her three months in prison for being trans.

Nisha Ayub of Malaysia now and as a child. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast)

Nisha Ayub of Malaysia now and as a child. Click image to see the video. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Beast)

In a 6:25-minute video, Nisha Ayub tells about growing up transgender in Malaysia, and how being thrown in prison made her an advocate for transgender rights.

The video is the first of 11 discussions of international LGBTI issues that are designed to “reverse the megaphone,” allowing activists from abroad to tell Western viewers about the challenges that LGBTI people face worldwide. The videos were recorded at a December 2014 meeting in New York.

The series, called “Quorum: Global LGBT voices,” is presented by The Daily Beast. The Erasing 76 Crimes blog is a member of the advisory board for this project. In that role, it has helped The Daily Beast select Quorum speakers and topics.

The video is on the Quorum page and on YouTube.

Nisha Ayub promotes trans rights and trans pride.

Nisha Ayub promotes trans rights and trans pride.

In the video, Ayub says:

“The most frequent question being asked to me was always, ‘Nisha, when did you become a transgender person?’ You know what?  We don’t become one. We are born as one, and that’s a fact.”

She was arrested by Malaysia’s religious police and sentenced to three months in prison. She was commanded to commit sex acts in prison and was tempted to commit suicide.

While Ayub was in prison, her mother realized that she did not have a son, but a daughter. When she was freed, she became a transgender rights activist. She currently works with the Pink Triangle Foundation of Malaysia.

She said, “You can cut my hair. You can strip me naked. And you can take my dignity away from me. You can even kill me. But you cannot take away my identity as a transgender person.”

Posted in Americas, International pressure for LGBT rights | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

My clash with a rabidly angry anti-gay Christian

Here’s a distressing look into the sort of violently anti-gay thinking that leads people to imprison, abuse and kill LGBTI people, especially in the world’s most homophobic countries.

Don’t read much further if you want to be spared from abusive language.

Image on Val Ep's Facebook page.

Image on Val Ep’s Facebook page.

This exchange with Val Ep, a self-described Christian from Uganda, is far beyond what most people in North America and Western Europe encounter, but I experience such hatred online from time to time because of my work as editor/publisher on the Erasing 76 Crimes blog.

LGBTI people who live in more overtly homophobic countries endure this type of abuse often and are fortunate if they suffer nothing more than abusive language.

The following messages from Val Ep are exactly as sent to the Erasing 76 Crimes page on Facebook, apparently in response to a blog post that was critical of anti-gay former Church of Uganda leader Henry Orombi, such as “Archbishop Orombi, architect of African homophobic hate” by the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle. My replies are reconstructed by me, as best I can remember, after Val deleted the message file.

Val Ep, Jan. 14

Former Ugandan archbishop Henry Orombi was a strong supporter of the "Kill the Gays" bill there. (Photo courtesy of SDGLN.com)

Former Ugandan archbishop Henry Orombi was a strong supporter of the “Kill the Gays” bill there. (Photo courtesy of SDGLN.com)

To suggest that one man gets sexual pleasure from another mans shit-hole is a level of mental disorder that has not yet been medically evaluated may be the rational medical profession didnt see the need b’coz it is a disease of “choice”. A shit hole is just that: A SHIT HOLE! A sewage disposal canal & gas exhaust! If the Anglican Communion has become Alice Bailey’s religion then dont impose your ABOMINATION on the world the way islam is imposing itself. If you feel YOU MUST go to hell, why dont you do so on your own . If any man has become pregnant, & I request any who has, or knows anyone who has, to kindly let me know the contact email f/book address. Meanwhile Archbishop (rtd) Henry Luke Orombi is one of the few Holy men/women x-Anglican Communion alive. GOD PROTECT & BLESS our dearly beloved H.L.OROMBI

Val Ep, Jan. 18
U r silent! R u DEAD?

Erasing 76 Crimes (Colin Stewart), Jan. 18
Dear Val,
I’m fine. Thanks for asking. I merely was at a loss for words at the degree of anger and hatred that you displayed. It saddens me that you’re so caught up in violent hatred that, although you say you’re a Christian, you forget one of the great commandments that Jesus taught — to love your neighbor as yourself. And, by the way, I have never heard of Alice Bailey.

Val Ep, Jan. 18
When you malign someone like Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, you should expect that, even worse. Cant u do your abomination quietly? I dont expect you are a christian. You are Alice Bailey’s desciple. For u to claim God created people with different sexual orientation is plaspheming God. HE NEVER createtd any man to “increase & multiply” with another man. I hope you understand that. Homosexuals are the filthiest scum of society.

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda, whose acceptance of LGBT people led to his ouster from the Church of Uganda.

Orombi defrocked Christopher Ssenyonjo as bishod b’coz he (Ssenyonjo) was supporting & may be practicing homosexuality contrary to christian teaching according to the bible. Ssenyonjo was denounced and disowned by members of his own family & clan. Same sex relationship are taboo in African culture. If you think you can impose your evil cultures on Africa you better think again. [Editor’s note: For more information about gay-friendly Bishop Senyonjo, see this blog’s articles about him.]

Val Ep, Jan. 19
Of course, actions of some people can drive others raving mad, & when our morality is invaded, insulting our highly respected Christian leaders. I’m a christian that means I cannot be comqlaisant with evil doers or those who promote them, expecting to be loved & not admonished. Satan works thru them. Tell me, where in the bible did Jesus “love” satan or his agents. Instead Jesus was ALWAYS chasing DEMONS out of people thru whom they (demons) were working. U would benefit from the services of an exorcist. Alice Bailey is the author of satanic philophy now being implemented, especially her “10point plan to change the world”. U can google . You are not rescuing anybody. If u were, u would be doing something about Boko Haram, al Shabab etc. Rescuing arse lovers from being lynched is no big deal. I would shove embers up their behinds to cure the itch. Go to Saudi Arabia & rescue people from autocratic islamic regimes that chop hands of ppl accused of petty crimes. Women are accused of treason for driving a car! Islamic terrorism is wrecking havoc all over the place. But u are in Africa busy promoting homosexuality, calling it “rescuing”! U expect us to say thank u for your “AID” Yes, u are in Africa where evrything is BAD. Thank u big brother. USA (SODOM) & Europe (GOMORAH) need more rescuing than Africa. U can play a part if you BECOME A CHRISTIAN. U might be A JONAH!

[Editor’s note: If you do Google “Alice Bailey,” you’ll find that she was an early 20th Century “writer and theosophist in occult teachings, esoteric psychology and healing, astrological and other philosophic and religious themes,” as Wikipedia describes her. You’ll also find her credited with popularizing the term “New Age” and reviled as “a lying Satan worshipper.”]

Erasing 76 Crimes, Jan. 19 (Colin Stewart)
I pray that you will be able to step away from the violence that so fills your mind and your words, and that you will learn to understand that these are fellow humans that you hate so much, not demons. They’re made by God — made just as they are, as you are.

Val Ep, Jan. 19
If u are a homosexual, believe or support it in any way whatsoever, DONT PRAY FOR ME. I DONT like your prayers. I DONT NEED your prayers. Prov15: 8, 9,29; Prov28: 9

Erasing 76 Crimes, Jan. 20 (Colin Stewart)
Dear Val,
You can’t stop me from praying for you.

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Faith and religion, Harassment / murders | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-gay Anglicans blast archbishop for friendly chats in U.S.

The idea that anti-gay African Christians could be friends with gay-affirming church leaders in the United States is “offensive,” “unbiblical,” and “a tremendous obstacle,” according to hard-line anti-gay Anglican leaders in Africa.

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi (Photo courtesy of GeoConger.wordpress.com)

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi (Photo courtesy of GeoConger.wordpress.com)

In a letter to Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi, five conservative Anglican leaders last month publicly criticized him for attending a meeting in New York in October that sought to build friendships and partnerships among church leaders despite theological disagreements over homosexuality.

They urged Ntahoturi to  repent and apologize.

If he does not, they said he should resign as chairman of  the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA). The letter reveals a deep split among African Anglicans, as those who are passionately anti-gay oppose those who seek some form of reconciliation.

Along with evangelicals, hard-line Anglicans are among the most harshly outspoken anti-gay Christians in Africa.

That is especially true for African members of GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference), a conservative coalition of Anglicans who threatened to leave the Anglican Communion after the Episcopal Church (Anglican Church in the United States) accepted openly gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in 2003.

Bishop Gene Robinson (Photo courtesy of CambridgeBlog.org)

Bishop Gene Robinson (Photo courtesy of CambridgeBlog.org)

It is no coincidence that the harshest anti-gay laws enacted last year were in Nigeria and Uganda, where the Anglican church and GAFCON are strong.

Archbishops from those two countries signed the letter to Ntahoturi, along with Anglican church leaders in Kenya, Congo, Sudan and South Sudan. All five are members of GAFCON.

Ntahoturi was not the only African leader at the meeting in New York.  Others who took part included Anglican archbishops  from the provinces of Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania and West Africa, according to Changing Attitude.

The communiqué issued after the New York meeting in October, entitled “Transformation through Friendship,” is here. It stated, in part:

“We shared news from our churches, rejoiced in our renewed fellowship, and marveled at the gifts and diversity of creation God has provided.  We prayed together, and we worshiped.

“Our intention was to build missional partnerships among our churches, taking Jesus’ statement of his mission as our own—’to bring good news to the poor, . . . to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’  (Lk. 4:18-19)  We confessed that one thing we have in common is that we all have needs, not the least of which is our profound need for each other.

“We also celebrated that each of our churches has gifts to offer the others.  Framing our conversation in the context of human dignity and flourishing, the sustainability of our common ministry, and the care of the Earth, we found several subjects for fruitful collaboration that will allow us to share our gifts with each other.  We committed ourselves to exploring pension schemes, stewardship of finances and other resources (management and investment), health services, mining and related environmental issues, advocacy, migration and statelessness, human trafficking, religious freedom, and theological education.  We made commitments to explore these opportunities for partnership and report back to each other early in the new year.”

What the communiqué described as “opportunities for partnership” the letter from GAFCON leaders to Ntahoturi described as “alliances that seek to capitalise on economic vulnerability to advance an agenda.”  The text of that letter, drafted during a GAFCON gathering in Nairobi, is below:

The text of the Nairobi Consultation letter

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of the Anglican Church of Kenya is the chairman of anti-gay GAFCON. (Photo courtesy of WestFM.co.ke)

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of the Anglican Church of Kenya hosted the meeting that drafted the letter of rebuke. (Photo courtesy of WestFM.co.ke)

The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi
Archbishop of Burundi
4th December 2014

Dear Archbishop Bernard,

Please receive our greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus.

We write with a profound sense of distress about your actions in regard to the “Transformation Through Friendship” gathering. We take strong exception with numerous points.

First, the document itself is a manipulation. It is in fact, not principally about “Friendship” but is in fact an attempt to further advance the unbiblical and false teaching of The Episcopal Church.

Second, we reject the characterisation that the communique represents “African Primates and Bishops.” Given that there is absolutely no acknowledgement that there are other African Primates and Bishops who do not agree, the document, of which you were a collaborator and signatory, presents itself falsely. It does not represent the faith of the overwhelming majority of African Christians. This is particularly offensive given your position as Chairman of CAPA. If you are to be able to continue in your position with integrity, we would need both an explanation and an apology. If you are not able to do so, we would ask you to step down as Chairman.

We are particularly grieved because “it is not an enemy that reproaches… but it was you.” (Psalm 55:12-13) Given the fact that you are the Chairman of CAPA, and are supposed to represent the agreed positions of African Primates, your actions have created a tremendous obstacle to our participation in any CAPA gatherings until this can be properly sorted out.

Third, the theologically superficial approach of the “Friendship Communique” attempts to effect reconciliation without repentance. Not only did your presence validate unbiblical teaching and practice of The Episcopal Church (USA), but seeks to give momentum to a process which does not solve issues of salvific import. This is an example of teaching that is socially grounded rather than Biblically substantiated. By your presence, you validate unrepentant, unbiblical teaching and practice.

Fourth, we reject the process of “Indaba” as it is being implemented. Rather than seeking true resolution, it has been consistently manipulated only to recruit people to unbiblical positions. “Indaba” as currently practiced, is a fiction advancing human desires that are not informed by Gospel truth.

Fifth, the meeting uncritically proposes “Mission,” without recognising that there must be theological agreement about what purpose the mission pursues, as opposed to Biblical Mission which furthers the redemptive love of Christ through repentance and conversion.

Sixth, while we are certainly aware of the problem of poverty in Africa, we reject alliances that seek to capitalise on economic vulnerability to advance an agenda.

Dear Brother, we know that this agenda does not represent the faith of your Province, Diocese, or even your own heart. We call you to repentance and restoration to join with us in fellowship that is founded on Christ’s truth and is faithful to His Word. In keeping with our East African Revival heritage of repentance and confession, we long to have this resolved. Please know this letter comes not from malice but from a desire for godly fellowship to be restored.

The Most Rev’d Eliud Wabukala
Primate, the Anglican Church of Kenya,
Chairman GAFCON Primates Council

The Most Rev’d Nicholas D Okoh
Primate Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion),
Vice Chairman GAFCON Primates Council

The Most Rev’d Henri Isingoma
Primate, The Anglican Church of Congo

The Most Rev’d Stanley Ntagali
Primate, Church of Uganda

Bishop Isaac Ater
For the Most Rev’d Daniel Deng Bul
Primate, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan

CC : The Most Rev. Albert Chama,
Archbishop of Central Africa; The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Southern Africa; The Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya, Archbishop of Tanzania, The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo, Archbishop of West Africa; Rev Canon Grace Kaiso.

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Americas, Faith and religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gambia: Grim tale of torture; man expects to die in captivity

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh (Photo courtesy of AFP and Senenews.com)

Outspokenly anti-gay Gambian President Yahya Jammeh (Photo courtesy of Senenews.com)

By Colin Stewart

A man arrested on homosexuality charges in the Gambia has apparently been tortured and now has been locked in a heavily guarded hospital room where he expects to die, according to an eyewitness and a second source.

In a harrowing account first published by BuzzFeed and then by Gambia’s online Freedom Newspaper of the Gambia, an eyewitness described the perilous condition of detainee Alieu Sarr. According to BuzzFeed:

He has cotton in his nose and he is coughing blood and saying, ‘I know I’m going to die,” said the witness, who was in the public ward of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital when the man was transferred to Room 1 in the private block, where other prisoners are said to have been murdered under orders from the Gambia’s authoritarian ruler, Yahya Jammeh.

“I feel sorry for the guy. I don’t know if he’s going to make it,” the witness said in a voice shaking with emotion. The witness asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution from the Jammeh regime.

According to Freedom Newspaper:

“Mr. Sarr has been crying on his hospital bed saying that he is going to die. He was tortured while under state custody. He appeared weak and pale,” said our source.

Activist former Gambian official Fatu (Fatou) Camara, now in the United States, said that 12 of about 15 allegedly LGBT people arrested in the recent crackdown in the Gambia have been released.

She also confirmed the eyewitness’s account with another source, BuzzFeed said, adding:

Three allegedly LGBT arrestees in the Gambia appear in this TV report, with their faces obscured. Click the image to watch the video. (Video from Fatu Radio Network via YouTube)

Three allegedly LGBT arrestees in the Gambia appear in this TV report with their faces obscured. Click the image to watch the video. (Video from Fatu Radio Network via YouTube)

“The witness said Sarr’s room is guarded by two armed soldiers. A nurse told the witness that Sarr has not seen a doctor, which Camara said is consistent with the treatment of other prisoners who have been brought to the hospital. Treatment is withheld until ‘instructions’ are received from the regime, she said.”

BuzzFeed added:

The Jammeh government, which has faced criticism for human rights abuses in the West African country throughout Jammeh’s 20-year rule, enacted an “Aggravated Homosexuality Act” in August modeled closely on the sweeping anti-LGBT law enacted in early 2014 in Uganda. Jammeh has also made several statements calling for the elimination of LGBT people, including calling for them to be exterminated the “same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes” last February. Human rights activists fear that he may step up the anti-LGBT drumbeat in response to a coup attempt he survived on Dec. 30.

Jeffrey Smith of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in Washington said that he believed Alieu’s torture was “part of a more sinister plan” by the Jammeh regime. Jammeh government has a pattern of using torture to get prisoners to name others, and he believes this is a sign of a “spreading crackdown.”

Camara, who was accused of treason by Jammeh and witnessed torture of others while in custody, said the regime had a history of transferring prisoners to the hospital’s private blocs before they are murdered. In a 2011 case, she said, a former political ally of Jammeh’s named Baba Jobe was strangled in Room 10 of the private bloc while in the custody of armed guards.

“There are many other stories of people who they take to the hospital and then they would die,” said Camara. She also had been in contact with another person who confirmed the account of Sarr’s condition given by the witness who spoke to BuzzFeed News. …

The United States announced just before Christmas that it was expelling the Gambia from a special trade agreement because of the LGBT crackdown and other human rights abuses. Human rights activists welcomed the move, but said it was long overdue and did not go far enough. On Jan. 23, a coalition of 14 LGBT rights organizations called on the Obama administration to impose a travel ban on Gambian officials including Jammeh, whose family owns a home in the Washington suburb of Potomac, Maryland.

Click here to read all of news stories on The Gambia at 76crimes.com

Posted in Africa (Sub Saharan), Anti-LGBT laws and legislation, Harassment / murders, International pressure for LGBT rights, Trials / punishments | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Uganda: 9 gay men threatened by mob, arrested by police

Uganda map

Uganda map

Nine young gay men have been released after being held in police custody for five days in western Uganda.

Without knowing it, the men had put their lives in jeopardy by visiting an STI screening clinic, which attracted the attention of a homophobic mob.

Police at first detained the men on Jan. 15 to protect them from the mob, which threatened to beat or kill them. Once they were in custody, police began considering filing sodomy charges against them.

As described by local witnesses, the incident began on Thursday, Jan. 15, when a medical team from the STI clinic at a  Hospital carried out a screening, testing and treatment visit to a rural district in collaboration with the town council.

HIV testing in Uganda photo courtesy AIDS Healthcare Foundation

HIV testing in Uganda (Photo courtesy of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

The visiting clinic had been arranged by the Rainbow Health Foundation  (RHF), which serves gays and men who have sex with men (MSM) in Western Uganda.

The clinic’s medical services went as planned, with the day’s activities ending without incident.

But then, some of the young men who had attended the clinic stayed around and went to visit one of their friends in town. They did not know that some people in town were planning to hunt them down and attack or even kill them.

A mob started to gather at the home where the young men were visiting.

Some of them had been followed there by members of the local Community Policing Team who had been reporting to members of the local council.

Gossip spread about a probable ambush of homosexuals. Local officials notified police.

The police acted quickly, taking the nine men into custody before any action had been taken by the gathering mob. The men were rushed to the local police station.

“The mob kept increasing. They followed the boys to the police station, chanting and saying, ‘Show them no mercy,’ ” said Dismus Aine Kevin, director of the RGF. He said that the “angry mob made it clear they wanted to break down the police doors” to get at the young men.

The police decided to take the boys away from the local station to the district police headquarters.  The mob, continued to increase “by the minute.”

Ugandan police at June 18 raid. (Photo courtesy of NTV. Click for video.)

Ugandan armed police (Photo courtesy of NTV)

As the situation worsened, reinforcements were called in and armed police officers arrived with a vehicle. They moved the young men again — this time to the much more secure district police station — and put them into cells.

RHF requested legal assistance from Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HPAPF).  This non-governmental organisation provides legal assistance and advocacy to promote respect and observance of human rights of marginalised groups, including MSM. They also received support from DPI, the Defenders Protection Initiative.

The following day, on Friday, Jan. 16, a group of lawyers from HPAPF arrived to try to negotiate for release of the young men. They were not successful.

Police revealed to the lawyers that they had opened a file focused on the possibility of charging the men with sodomy. But police said they had not concluded their investigations, so the men remained in jail cells. The nine men had not yet made any statement to police.

RHFM officials visited the local council chairman, who confirmed what had occurred. The Councillor also said “he wished that at least two of them had been killed, so the others would learn a lesson.”

On Saturday, Jan. 17,  Dismus visited the nine jailed men. He said: “Their souls are tortured and tormented but they are holding up. We cracked a few jokes to put smiles on their face. It is hurting to see them all so helpless. They were subjected to a medical examination, included anal examination, and asked questions about their sexuality.”

RHF initially appealed confidentially to a small group of trusted international activists, including to this reporter, for emergency assistance and referrals to assist the young men.  Lawyers continued to press for the release of these young men.  Finally, on Tuesday January 20th, the young men were released after spending five days imprisoned.

Due to a lack of funds, they have all returned back to their own town(s), to the same places that wanted them dead. Activists in Western Uganda now have the added financial burden and responsibility of monitoring these young men for their safety.

The young men are living in fear for their lives; some are house hopping, others are hiding in fields; these young men are in real danger should they be found. Tomorrow, January 28th, they are to report to police, some don’t have transport fare to get there.

Donations are desperately and urgently needed !

These young gays urgently require shelter in a safe house, help to integrate in new, safe environments and support for them to acquire small loans for survival. RHF activists are prepared to assume these responsibilities, but for the costs.

Financial support is desperately needed. We appeal to our readers to be generous. Please, click on the Pay Pal icon at Right to link with PayPal – all you need is an e-mail address and a credit card to make a secure donation directly to RHF’s PayPal account at: donate2rhfm@gmail.com .

*****

Editor’s note: Out of concern for the safety of these young men, we delayed publishing this news until RHF cleared us to do so. We have edited this news article by deleting locations, again out of concern for these young men whose situation remains desperate. RHF activists continue to actively monitor the situation.

Click here to see all of our news on Uganda from 76crimes.com

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Harassment / murders, HIV / AIDS | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment