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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy