LGBTI advocates hail Uganda acquittal, unite against rape

Chris Mubiru (Photo courtesy of news.ugo.co.ug)
Chris Mubiru (Photo courtesy of news.ugo.co.ug)

Advocates of LGBTI rights in Uganda welcomed today’s acquittal of sports celebrity Chris Mubiru in a case that involved consensual same-sex relations, while noting that his conviction for forced sodomy was a matter of law, not of gay rights.

“Abuse is abuse,” activist Kasha Jacqueline wrote in a Facebook comment. “Perpetrators must face the law … the judge made that distinction very clear in the ruling.”

The LGBTI rights blog Sebaspace observed:

“The Ugandan judiciary continues to pleasantly surprise.

“In a groundbreaking ruling, Chief Magistrate Flavia Nabakooza today convicted ex-football manager, Chris Mubiru, of forceful sodomy, but acquitted him of sex with another male because that was consensual. …

“The judge thus made a distinction between consensual and non-consensual sodomy which is critical to be made.

“This ruling should be applauded for the forward-looking precedent it sets.

“Mubiru is apparently going to appeal the ruling and that is his right. But care needs to be taken by commentators not to get carried away too much by the misleading headlines.

“Mubiru was NOT convicted of sodomy; he was convicted of the “forceful” sodomy (rape) of [name omitted] and acquitted of consensual homo-sodomy….”

John "Long John" Wambere (Photo courtesy of BET)
John “Long John” Wambere (Photo courtesy of BET)

Ugandan activist John “Long Jones” Wambere, currently in the United States, stated on Facebook, “As an LGBTI community, one of the key factors we focused on was not to support but condemn sexual abuse, especially to minors of any gender or sexual orientation.”

“It is infuriating and insulting when people confuse LGBTI rights with defending abusers,” added New York-based activist Mordechai Levovitz, executive director of JQY, a support organization for LGBTI youth in ultra orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities. “In reality, LGBTI rights protect children from abusers because when people are open, honest and supported, children are less vulnerable and adults are more accountable.”

Another activist added, “Let the law take its course. If the appeal confirms that Mubiru raped [name omitted], he must go to jail. This is not at all a case for activism. It is a case for the law to pan out.”

 

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 [email protected]

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