Uganda: Police interrupt training workshop for gay rights activists
Police officers in Uganda raided a gay rights training session near Kampala yesterday, alleging that the assembly was illegal.
LGBT activists, however, contend that the workshop was legal, and were targeted only because it was geared towards training gay rights campaigners.
The session was organised by East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project in order to train local activists on how to report human rights abuses.
More than two dozen police officers interrupted the meeting, many armed in riot gear, people familiar with the matter say. Most of the participants in the meeting however fled the hotel in Najjera, just outside Kampala, before the police arrived, however, attendees from Canada, Rwanda and Kenya were detained for questioning.
This is not the first time the police have raided a gay rights meeting however. Back in February, Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, instigated a police raid of another gay rights meeting in Entebbe.
Sari Naskinen, who was behind the workshop today, said that the raid happened half-way through the first of a three-day workshop, when local media began to demand access to the speakers. It is unclear whether it was the members of the media who informed the police.
All of the participants were eventually released.
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and is punishable by several years imprisonment. A bill that would make certain homosexual acts punishable by death continues to remain in front of the parliament.