No bail for 2 Ugandans facing trial on gay-sex charges

HRAPF logo
HRAPF logo

Human rights workers have been seeking the release of two Ugandans who face trial starting May 7 on homosexuality charges. The case of Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa, was reported in the article “2 Ugandans face trial on gay-sex charges.”

 

The advocacy group Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda (HRAPF) has provided the defendants with lawyers who have tried to arrange their release on bail, so far unsuccessfully.

Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of HRAPF, released this description of the events in the case so far:

I have got many inquiries about this case, and since HRAPF’s lawyers have been representing the two since they were arrested, I would like to make a few comments in order to give the whole story behind the continued incarceration of the two.

It is true that Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa were arrested and charged with ‘carnal knowledge against the order of nature’ and ‘permitting a male person to have carnal knowledge of oneself against the order of nature’ contrary to Section 145(a) and (c) of the Penal Code Act — not under the Anti Homosexuality Act 2014. This was on January 27th and 28th 2014 and not December 2013 as alleged in the article [in The Guardian].

The first one Kim Mukisa was being beaten up by a mob when HRAPF intervened. Jackson had complained to the local officials that Kim was ‘sodomising’ him. They were arrested separately.

Luzira Prison (Photo courtesy of Monitor.ug)
Luzira Prison, where Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa are being held. (Photo courtesy of Monitor.ug)

They were held in detention for more than 48 hours, and on 3rd February 2014 we wrote a letter to the Police complaining about the violation of their rights. We copied in the Divisional Police Commander, the Inspector General of Police, and Uganda Human Rights Commission.

We also applied for the an unconditional release order for them to be released from custody. They were hurriedly taken to court as soon as the letter was delivered. They were remanded to prison until 21st February 2014.

An application for a production warrant was rejected and on their next appearance in court on 21st February 2014, bail was applied for. However, there was only one surety — Jackson’s father. Bail was denied because of the lack of sureties. The matter was stood over for four hours to allow sureties to come, but to no avail.

They were taken back to prison and appeared again in court on 10th March and still there were no sureties for Kim and only one for Jackson. The Court once again denied them bail on this basis. They case was adjourned to 25th of March.

Meanwhile the lawyers implored with the accused persons and Jackson’s father to get another surety, and also the lawyers convinced one community member to stand surety for Kim. All the other attempts to get sureties failed.

On 25th March, the lawyers applied for bail which was granted on the following conditions:
i) A deposit of Uganda Shillings 300,000 cash as bail money each.
ii) Uganda Shillings 2,000,000 not cash for sureties.
iii) Introduction letters of the accused from the respective Local Council Chairpersons with the photographs of the accused persons accused.

The cash bail was paid by HRAPF. The Local Council letter was brought for Jackson but that for Kim was not secured since the Local Council chairperson denied knowing Kim.

However, the second surety for Jackson did not return to court to sign the Bond forms and all attempts to reach him by the lawyers and Jackson’s father were futile. His phones were off and he also refused to pick the calls after that. As such both were returned to prison and the case adjourned for 16th of April for mention.

Meanwhile attempts to get sureties for Kim failed and attempts to reach Jackson’s other surety were still futile.

On 16th April, the lawyer asked the magistrate to allow for a new surety of Jackson, but the magistrate refused and demanded for the old surety. For Kim, there was one surety who was accepted but the absence of the LC letter ensured that he was not released. This is the stage at which the newspaper article was published.

The State intimated that they were ready to proceed and suggested 7th May for the trial. This date was accepted by our lawyers, and the accused remanded until then. It is an unfortunate development, but not unknown for LGBTI persons, as people are really willing to stand surety for them. In fact we had represented Jackson before but he skipped bail and the sureties were unwilling to stand surety for him again.

Today, we managed to get in touch with Jackson’s other surety but the court refused to issue a production warrant until 7th May.

So right now, we are preparing for the trial, which if indeed it takes off will be the first one recorded in the history of Section 145 for consensual same sex relations.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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