Uganda drops charges against trans woman

Luzira Prison (Photo courtesy of Monitor.ug)
Luzira Prison, where Emma Bbosa was held. (Photo courtesy of Monitor.ug)

Charges have been dropped against Emma Bbosa, a Ugandan trans woman.
Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda (HRAPF), reports:

“Emma Bossa’s case was today dismissed for want of prosecution by the Grade ! Magistrate of Mwanga II Court. The state had for five consecutive times failed to produce witness is the malicious damage to property case.
“Today, the case came up and the prosecutor asked for a further adjournment. Ms. Fridah Mutesi, the HRAPF lawyer handling the case, argued against the adjournment on the basis that further adjournments were prejudicial to her client who has charges pending over her and yet the state does not present any witness. The magistrate agreed with Ms. Mutesi and the case was dismissed.”

Our previous report in May: The legal advocacy group HRAPF has won release from prison for a Ugandan transgender woman who is facing criminal charges related to the passage of the country’s harsh anti-gay law.
Emma Bbosa had been detained in Luzira Prison awaiting trial on charges of arson and malicious damage to property, which she says were fabricated by the landlord of her partner.
Many landlords in Uganda have ousted LGBT tenants this year, both because of the country’s increasingly hateful attitude to LGBT people and for fear of running afoul of the provision in the Anti-Homosexuality Law that penalizes anyone who “offers premises and other related fixed or movable assets for purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality.” The penalty for violating that provision is a prison sentence of five to seven years.
Bbosa’s case is being handled by the advocacy group Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda (HRAPF), which is provided legal representation for several LGBT defendants in Uganda.

Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of HRAPF, said she was arrested on April 15, released on police bond on April 16, and re-arrested on April 17.  Supporters were needed who were willing to guarantee that she would return to court for her trial, Jjuuko said.
Today she was released. “We managed to get the sureties and all is fine, at least for now,” he said.
Also today, the arson charge against Bbosa was dismissed, leaving only the charge of malicious damage to property, Jjuuko said.
Bbosa is due back in court on May 26, at which point the prosecution may proceed with her trial.
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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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