Uganda gay sex case Briton Bernard Randall to be deported

Bernard Randall in court in Uganda Bernard Randall was arrested after thieves stole a laptop from his house

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A British man who was facing charges in Uganda of possessing a gay sex video is to be deported, a court has ruled.

Retired Bernard Randall, 65, from Faversham in Kent, denied a charge of trafficking obscene publications.

Judge Hellen Ajio ordered Mr Randall should be deported from Uganda within 12 hours.

Mr Randall, who first appeared in court in Uganda in November, would have faced a possible two-year prison sentence if found guilty.

Analysis

When Bernard Randall arrives back home he will be a free man, but Uganda's decision to deport him is motivated by making his case disappear.

The government here has come under a lot of international pressure for its anti-homosexual legislation.

Charging a gay man for possessing a sex tape he made outside of your country doesn't go down well with donors.

Another British man David Cecil was also deported last year after being charged for staging a gay play. The global media also covered his case.

Activists have focused on a new anti-homosexuality bill passed by parliament last month that would mainly ban the promotion of homosexuality.

Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, is very aware of the international backlash that could follow if such a law was enacted, so he has refused to approve it.

The court here agreed to drop Mr Randall's case should he leave the country and he will undoubtedly be relieved.

But the government will be also be thankful that it doesn't have to face questions about him anymore.

He was charged alongside his friend Albert Cheptoyek, 30, a Ugandan national with whom he shares a house.

Gross indecency charge

Mr Cheptoyek told the BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga that Mr Randall was being held in the court's cells awaiting his deportation.

Mr Cheptoyek has denied a more serious charge of carrying out "acts of gross indecency", which could see him jailed for up to seven years if found guilty.

Ms Byaruhanga said the charges against Mr Cheptoyek still stood as the trial against both men had not officially started.

The Foreign Office said it would not be commenting on Mr Randall's deportation.

Earlier a spokesman said they had been aware of the arrest and had provided consular assistance.

Mr Randall was arrested after thieves stole a laptop from his house. Stills from a video on it then appeared in a tabloid newspaper in the country.

Last week, Uganda's president refused to approve a controversial bill to toughen punishments for homosexuals in Uganda, where homosexual acts are already illegal.

It would have made it a crime not to report gay people - and even talking about homosexuality without condemning the lifestyle would have become punishable by a prison term.

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