Uganda delays Briton 'gay sex trial'

2013-11-19 11:45
Briton Bernard Randall, 65, who is being charged with trafficking in obscene publications, attends a trial hearing which was postponed until December, in Entebbe, Uganda. (Rebecca Vassie, AP)

Briton Bernard Randall, 65, who is being charged with trafficking in obscene publications, attends a trial hearing which was postponed until December, in Entebbe, Uganda. (Rebecca Vassie, AP)

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Kampala - A retired British man appeared in a Ugandan court on Monday on charges of “trafficking obscene publications” after police found private pictures of him having sex with another man.

However, the case was adjourned until 4 December to allow defence lawyers time to obtain a copy of the evidence.

Bernard Randall, 65, pleaded not guilty at his initial hearing last month to the charges, which were brought after his laptop was stolen and films on the computer were handed to a Ugandan tabloid newspaper.

“They have set the audience to December 4 so our lawyer can obtain a copy of the accusations and evidence,” Randall told AFP, who appeared white-faced and visibly upset as he sat in the courtroom.

Randall, who faces a two-year sentence if convicted, fears he will be deported from Uganda.

A former computer systems expert in the finance industry who comes from Kent in south-east England, Randall first came to Uganda in 2011, after his wife died just short of their 40-year wedding anniversary.

Randall, who has two adult daughters, only came out as a homosexual after his wife's death.

Ugandan gay rights activist

He returned on holiday to Uganda in September, but days after he arrived, thieves broke into the house where he was staying, stealing cash, mobile phones and his computer.

The thieves passed images on the laptop to the newspaper, allegedly using anti-gay pastor Solomon Male as an intermediary.

In 2011, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home after a newspaper splashed photos, names and addresses of gays in Uganda on the front page along with a yellow banner reading “Hang Them”.

Uganda has repeatedly cracked down on gay activists, and proposed legislation - stalled but still awaiting a hearing before Parliament - that would see the death penalty imposed for certain homosexual acts if passed.

Although legislators have said the bill could be changed, in its current form, anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts more than once, or engaging in gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV, would be sentenced to death.




Read more on:    bernard randall  |  uganda  |  east africa  |  gay rights

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