Briton to Appear in Court after Images Published in Tabloid

Article excerpt

BYLINE: Peter Martell Sapa-AFP

NAIROBI: A retired British man in Uganda facing trial after police found images of him having sex with another man said he is terrified, as he faces a possible two-year sentence.

Bernard Randall, 65, pleaded not guilty last month in a Ugandan court to charges of "trafficking obscene publications", after his laptop was stolen and films on the computer were handed to a Ugandan tabloid newspaper that specialises in sordid sex and celebrity stories.

"It was private images on a private computer," Randall said, describing his horror at seeing personal photographs printed in the newspaper.

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

Randall was charged along with a Ugandan, who has also denied far more serious accusations of carrying out "acts of gross indecency", which could see him jailed for up to seven years if found guilty.

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 feared vigilante gangs might seek to attack him.

In 2011, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home outside Kampala, drawing worldwide condemnation.

Kato's death came after a newspaper in the Ugandan capital published a picture of him in the same issue as a headline demanding that homosexuals be hanged.

But Randall said that people he had met had treated him with respect since the case had drawn public attention.

"Ugandans are very kind people... and ordinary Ugandans have responded wonderfully - some gay, some not gay - but all saying 'it is your life to do with it as you want'," he said.

Randall is next due to appear in court on Monday. …