By Melanie Nathan, January 31, 2013.
Recently we reported on the arrests of two youth human rights defenders from the LGBTI group, Youth on the Rock, who were arrested by police around New Years eve, on accusations of homosexuality and recruiting people into homosexuality. Yesterday a third person who had been sought by the police in connection with the same series of arrests, turned himself into police for questioning.
The first youth worker, Kaweesi Joseph, was first arrested and the second, Kabuye Najibu was also arrested after he visited Joseph, to take him food. The third young, Martin (Morgan) Kanyike, who had previously escaped arrest, turned himself in on the advice of his attorney and SMUG’s director, Frank Mugisha, to avoid the issuance of a criminal summons.
Morgan is the executive director of the foundation, Youth on the Rock, was questioned for two hours by police. He was released with the advisory that charges could be brought against him for homosexuality.
I communicated with Frank Mugisha today who informed me that these arrests are nothing more than “intimidation on the part of the police.” There are no definitive charges against any of the three young men at this time. The police in essence can charge the men with anything, however such charges will have to be refined and in terms of existing law, if any criminal cases are going to be brought by the prosecutors to the Courts. At this time there is no specific crime of “homosexuality” per se, and charges would have to reflect a much stronger burden of proof by the prosecution to show actual sexual acts under the existing law of “crimes against nature, or defilement.” But there seems to be no such evidence of such at this time.
It seems that the police are acting willfully to persecute the young men, perhaps trying to instill fear so that they close down their organization which seeks to aid people in matters concerning human rights. It is as if the police are trying to pre-empt the yet to be passed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, (AHB) which if passed will carry stiff sentences for what will be a more loosely defined crime of “homosexuality” and so called “promotion” of homosexuality. Although the AHB has been introduced into this Parliament, it has yet to pass. It is currently up for a second debate which could occur anytime after Feb 04, when Parliament of Uganda reconvenes.