As many as 12 awaiting gay-sex trials in Uganda

As a result of Uganda’s ongoing anti-gay crackdown, many LGBT people are in hiding and as many as a dozen Ugandans are currently awaiting trial on homosexuality-related charges. Three of them are in prison pending the outcome of their trials.

Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)

Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)

Since President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act in  February, an LGBT security hotline in Uganda has received reports of about 130 incidents of evictions, arrests and mob attacks, Sandra Ntebi, chair of the LGBT community security team, told Inter-Press Service.

3 in Luzira Prison awaiting trial

 The advocacy group Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda (HRAPF) has provided lawyers for several LGBT defendants, including businessman Kim Mukisa, 24, and Jackson Mukasa,  19, a transgender woman.

HRAPF rescued Kim from a mob that was attacking him, but he was later arrested by the police. HRAPF arranged for him to have legal representation.

Later his partner, Jackson, was also arrested and charged
with “permitting a male person to have carnal knowledge” of him. After failing to meet the strict  conditions set for their bail, they are still in prison  awaiting trial, said Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of HRAPF.

The third person in Luzira Prison is Emma Bbosa, a transwoman who was framed by the landlord of her partner as an arsonist, Jjuuko said. She was arrested on April 15, released on police bond on April 16, and re-arrested on April 17.  She is charged with arson and malicious damage to property.

Bbosa is due to appear in court on May 5. HRAPF is seeking her release on bail before then.

Jjuuko also cited the cases of three other defendants located in Oyam in northern Uganda and in Soroti in eastern Uganda:

Maurice Okello and Anthony Oluku (Photo courtesy of NTV)

Maurice Okello and Anthony Oluku (Photo courtesy of NTV)

2 cousins in Oyam arrested, probed

In Oyam, two cousins, ages 22 and 18, were arrested when the older cousin  complained to local authorities that the younger cousin had attempted to have sex with him. They both were arrested, paraded in front of the media and kept in custody for more than two weeks.  They were also subjected to anal examinations. They were later released on police bond. HRAPF ensured their release over the objections of police who claimed to be holding them to protect them from mob violence, Jjuuko said.

NTV reported that Oyam District Police Commander Najibu Waiswa identified the defendants as Maurice Okello, 22, married with a child, and Anthony Oluku, 18. Police said the young men were caught red-handed and also admitted to having been involved in acts of homosexuality.

They were charged with carnal knowledge against the order of nature, a crime punishable by life imprisonment under Section 145 of the Penal Code Act of 1950, Jjuuko said. (Gay Star News reported incorrectly that they were charged under Uganda’s new Anti-Homosexuality Law.)

Trans woman in Nakatunya Prison awaiting trial

In Soroti, transgender woman Grace Akello (Charles Okello) was arrested after a man accused her of misleading men into thinking she was a woman. She was charged with “being a common nuisance” under the Penal Code Act and was remanded to Nakatunya Prison, Jjuuko said. HRAPF is representing her. She appeared in court on April 29, but did not have the securities that would have allowed her to be released on bail, Jjuuko said.

Activist leader arrested, with colleagues

Last November, activist Sam Ganafa, executive director of Spectrum Uganda and chairman of the Sexual Minorities Uganda coalition, was arrested along with as many as four associates and charged with “crimes against the order of nature.” They were released pending trial.

Local partner awaiting trial

In January, the British partner of Ugandan Albert Cheptoyek, 30, was deported after court proceedings related to a gay sex video that police found in their possession.  Cheptoyek remains in Uganda, charged with “acts of gross indecency,” which is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

He told The Guardian that he “expected to be jailed because of his sexuality, had been rejected by his local community, and feared for his life now the international spotlight had moved on” after his partner’s deportation.

Trans sex worker beaten, arrested

In March, Brenda, an HIV-positive, transgender sex worker in her late 30s who lives near Kampala, was beaten, stripped, arrested and paraded in front of local media, Ntebi told IPS.

On Apr. 17, Brenda was beaten again, hospitalized, and then went into hiding in a hotel while Ntebi worked to find a house she could rent.

Beyondy (Photo courtesy of VOA)

Beyondy (Photo courtesy of VOA)

Indoors, in hiding

Ntebi also told of the fears of Beyondy, 23, a fashion designer who is in hiding in a shack at the back of a Kampala slum, fearing that he will again face frequent attacks now that the anti-gay law has been enacted. He rarely goes outside, but remains indoors watching music videos.

Joseph Saidi in happier times.

Joseph Saidi in happier times.

Activist reportedly attacked, arrested, charged

In addition, activist Joseph Saidi was reportedly arrested on sodomy charges in mid-March in Uganda, where he had fled for safety after being attacked at home last year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was released, but his passport was not returned to him, he said.

[This post was updated on April 29 with the addition of the case of Emma Bbosa and additional information about the cases of Maurice Okello, Anthony Oluku and Grace Akello.]

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About Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart, a 40-year journalism veteran, is publisher and an editor of the "Erasing 76 Crimes" blog. More profile information on Google+. Colin Stewart, un vétéran du journalisme de 40 ans, est éditeur et rédacteur en chef du blog "Erasing 76 Crimes." Plus d'informations de profil sur Google+.
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