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Uganda Muslim pleads innocent at trial after marrying a man

Uganda Muslim pleads innocent at trial after marrying a man

A Ugandan Muslim cleric accused of marrying a fellow man — “unknowingly,” he says — has pleaded not guilty to charges of having carnal knowledge against the order of nature (homosexual intercourse).

From the African Human Rights Media Network


Sheikh Mutumba's relatives appearing in court today, Feb. 7, to stand surety for him. (UhspaUganda photo)
Sheikh Mutumba’s relatives appearing in court today, Feb. 7, to stand surety for him. (UhspaUganda photo)

By Kikonyogo Kivumbi

Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba, the imam of the Kyampisi Masjid Noor mosque, told Chief Magistrate Juliet Hatanga in court today (Feb. 7) that he is not guilty of the crime, which is a punishable by life imprisonment.

Sheikh Mutumba appearing in court today. (UhspaUganda photo)

The magistrate did not honour his plea to be granted bail. She said she needed time to study the case, in which Mutumba  recently wed Richard Tumushabe, alias Swabullah Nabukeera, who was disguised as a woman.

Today the couple was further remanded to Ntenjeru Prison (about one hour’s drive from Uganda’s capital Kampala) till Feb. 21.

The families of the defendants and the lawyer representing Sheik Mutumba  told Erasing 76 Crimes after the court session that they were hopeful that their loved ones would be granted bail on Feb. 21.

The  two last appeared in  court Jan. 30 to answer to  the homosexuality charge. Separately, Tumushabe  is also facing charges  of theft and obtaining money by false pretense.

Chief Magistrate Juliet Hatanga presiding over the case today. (UhspaUganda photo)
Chief Magistrate Juliet Hatanga presiding over the case today (Feb. 7). (UhspaUganda photo)

The men first appeared before Kayunga Grade One Magistrate Irene Akello on Jan. 16, but they were not allowed to enter a plea because their case could only be heard by a higher court.

Prosecution alleges that Sheikh Mutumba and Tumushabe committed the offence in December 2019.

Richard Tumushabe in court today. (UhspaUganda photo)

Sheikh Mutumba said he wedded Tumushabe unknowingly, spent two weeks with his new “wife” unaware of his true gender, and even complained that the “bride” had refused to undress while they slept.

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Muwonge Gerald, the founder of Foaster Foundation for Health Care Uganda. (Photo courtesy of East Africa Philanthropy Network)

Police discovered Tumushabe’s true gender when officers searched him before taking him to cells on charges of stealing a television set and clothes of their neighbour.

John Lukooto, the police dommander for Kayunga District, said that  Tumushabe had duped a number of men who fell in love with “her” and later stole  their money.

Lukooto told local media that  one of Tumushabe’s  victims from Mayuge (about two hours’ drive from Kayunga district, east of the capital, Kampala) came to Kayunga police station after seeing the suspect in newspapers and testified how he fooled them that “she” was their relative and convinced them to receive “her” husband for introduction.

“On the introduction day, Tumushabe claimed the husband had got an accident on the way to the function and that he had died,” Lukooto said.

Lukooto said the relatives collected Shs 400,000 (about U.S. $109) which they gave “her” to enable her to attend the burial of the husband but “she” never came back.

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