Jacqueline Kasha Nabagesera
There is growing alarm over the mysterious arrest of Ugandan LGBTI activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera in Rwanda.
On Thursday, Nabagesera flew from Entebbe to Kigali, where she was meant to meet a group of US filmmakers.
According to multiple social media reports on Friday, she was arrested on arrival at the Kigali International Airport for undisclosed reasons and her location was unknown.
Her Twitter account, which remains active, confirmed these events, and the person posting demanded that the Rwandan government explain its actions.
The LGBTI group Spectrum Uganda also posted on Facebook: “We are in search of our own Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera who was arrested yesterday to unknown police station in Kigali, Rwanda at the airport.”
Concerned activists around the world began tweeting the hashtag “#RwandawhereisKasha?” in a bid to get answers about her whereabouts and well-being.
A later tweet from Nabagesera’s account stated that she had “been moved from her last known location at Kicukiro police station to an undisclosed place”.
The Rwandan Police went on to issue a brief statement on social media, which read: “Jackline N. Kasha is temporarily held at the Airport over drunkenness and gross misconduct. Appropriate actions will be taken on her case.”
Nabagesera has not yet commented or surfaced and it remains unclear if she had been freed. Questions have been asked about why she was detained for up to 17 hours and how someone could become so inebriated during a short 45 minute flight.
In January, Nabagesera opened up about the devastation of being denied the opportunity to adopt a child because of her sexuality.
Nabagesera is the founder and executive director of the LGBT rights organisation Freedom & Roam Uganda (FARUG). She is also one of the organisers of the annual Uganda Pride event (which last year was raided and blocked from going ahead by the authorities).
In 2011, Nabagesera was awarded the prestigious international Martin Ennals Laureate Award for Human Rights Defenders for her work in promoting the rights of LGBTI and marginalised people in Uganda.
In 2014, she founded Uganda’s first ever LGBT magazine, Bombastic. The following year she appeared on the cover of Time magazine to highlight an article about Africa’s LGBT community.