UK man ‘relieved’ at having Ugandan anti-gay charges dropped

January 27, 2014
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A retired gay man from Kent who faced jail in Uganda for possessing a pornographic video has spoken of his relief after being deported to the UK.

Bernard Randall, 65, was charged in October with trafficking obscene material after private images of him having sex with a man were published in a newspaper in Uganda.

He would have faced a possible two-year prison sentence if found guilty.

Speaking to the BBC after arriving back in the UK, Mr Randall said it was “terrific” to be reunited with his friends and two daughters.

“It’s a great relief to be out of the prison cell,” he said.

“Two days in Entebbe airport police station cells wasn’t pleasant.

“I’m horrified at how homophobic Uganda is, especially state people – the courts, DPP (director of public prosecutions), the police.”

Mr Randall said he was “frustrated” to have been forced to leave Entebbe which had become “home from home”.

“If you’re going to have a complete life you can’t deny your sexuality,” he told the BBC.

“It’s really upsetting that the Ugandans have moved further to the right, you might say, to be anti-homosexual. It was particularly concerning when they were still talking about ‘kill the gays’.

“It’s not particularly pleasant to think people spend their lives in prison for being who they’re born as. It’s so distressing.”

Mr Randall, who pleaded not guilty, claims the film was unearthed by robbers who stole his laptop and passed the footage to the newspaper.

He told the BBC he was angry that police had dismissed his robbery complaint after the video was discovered.

Meanwhile, Mr Randall’s boyfriend, Albert Cheptoyek, said he fears for his own life as he still faces a more serious charge of gross indecency, which carries a seven-year jail term.

In December, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

The UK and US governments, criticised the move along with business magnate and investor Sir Richard Branson – who has urged for a corporate boycott of Uganda.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni announced he would not be signing the bill earlier this month.

More: Africa, Africa, anti-gay law, anti-gay laws, Bernard Randall, England, homophobic law, homophobic laws, Uganda, Uganda

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