British man prepares for gay sex trial in Uganda

British man prepares for gay sex trial in Uganda

KAMPALA - A retired British man will appear in a Ugandan court Monday on charges of "trafficking obscene publications" after police found private pictures of him having sex with another man.

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

"I'm completely innocent but I have no faith in the Ugandan judicial system," he told AFP Saturday, looking drained from worry and lack of sleep on the patio of a modest house full of plants in a small town outside Kampala.

"They were very private. They were just for me," Randall said, describing his horror at seeing personal photographs printed in the tabloid showing him having sex with a man in Morocco, several thousand kilometres (miles) from Uganda.

"If any trafficking was done, it was by the robbers who took the laptop, and the newspaper for printing them."

Randall, who faces a two-year sentence if convicted, fears he will be deported from Uganda, a decision that would prevent him from heading there every year to escape the British winter.

But he told AFP that after recent humiliation at the hands of the Ugandan police, the prospect of going to jail in Uganda is worse still.

"It was bad enough being in the cells at the police station. Being imprisoned, it horrifies me the thought of that," he said.

Homosexuality is a crime in Uganda, and gay rights activists say they regularly face death threats.

"I was terrified.... I've put padlocks on the windows, checked all the locks on the doors," Randall said, adding he had feared vigilante gangs might seek to attack him.

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'.

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