Gay rights in Uganda: Retired British man Bernard Randall to stand trial for ‘nonsensical’ Ugandan gay sex picture charges

The 65-year-old from Kent faces ‘mob vigilantism’ and death threats after film of him having sex with another man were stolen from his home

A retired British man faces trial in Uganda after a tabloid newspaper published images of him having sex with another man, in charges which he has called “nonsensical”.

Bernard Randall, 65, was horrified to see the stills from “very private videos” appear in the press, and added that he was “devastated” when police arrested and subsequently charged him.

He will answer bail on Monday, and stands accused of “trafficking obscene publications” – reduced from a more serious charge of being involved in “an unnatural act”.

Homosexuality is a crime in Uganda, punishable by up to 14 years in jail, and despite numerous diplomatic protests from the international community the country is currently considering proposals to extend the penalty to life imprisonment.

While the trafficking charge against Mr Randall could see him receive a two-year jail term, police have also arrested his Ugandan partner, 30-year-old Albert Cheptoyek, accusing him of “acts of gross indecency” – which carries a seven year term.

Mr Randall’s campaign has received backing from Stephen Fry, whose documentary Out There last month saw him confronting a Ugandan pastor over the country’s gay rights record, and the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

His supporters say he has received death threats after the pictures emerged, and lives in fear of homophobic mob attacks. The images appeared in a Ugandan tabloid popular for its celebrity and sex scandal stories, following the theft of a computer from Mr Randall’s home.

Speaking from Uganda, the former computer analyst from Faversham in Kent said: “The charges are nonsensical.

“The publication of the pictures was as a consequence of the theft of my laptop. I wasn't publishing them. They were very private videos of my private life that got stolen.”

Speaking on his reaction to being charged, he added: “I was devastated.

“The worst thing was being taken away from our home at 6.30am and thrown into cells where we spent three nights and three whole days until we were charged.

“There was just a concrete floor, no blankets and no pillows, and it wasn't very comfortable. There were quite a lot of people, 18 other criminals in there.

“They had seen the newspaper in the cell so they all were aware of the situation.”

An online petition calling for Mr Randall to be saved from imprisonment said Uganda's gay laws were a “moral outrage” and that he was “scared out of his mind and at the mercy of mob rule and vigilantism”.

One of Mr Randall's friends, Dr Nick Fabbri, told BBC South East Today: “Talking to Bernard, there is a level of vigilantism that exists in Uganda against gays. I wouldn't want to be in his position and we all feel terribly for him.”

Mr Tatchell told the programme: “The consequences of the tabloid exposure of those gay people in Uganda is that many of them have been victims of violent assaults, they have had attacks on their homes and many have been forced out of their jobs.

“This is a really, really shocking attack on gay human rights in Uganda and the Ugandan government is sitting back and allowing it to happen.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman in London said: “We are aware of the arrest of a British national on 19 October in Uganda, and are providing consular assistance.”

You can sign up to the Bring Bernard Home online petition here.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links