Two men in Uganda have been arrested on charges of homosexuality, apparently after watching a Sex and the City movie in Kampala.
LGBT rights group Spectrum Uganda reported on Tuesday that Steven Dhont, a Belgian man, and his as yet unnamed Kenyan friend were at Dhont’s home watching the comedy when, at around 12am, there was a knock at the door.
Dhont answered the door, apparently in his boxers, where he discovered armed police. They confiscated the movie, apparently believing it was gay porn, and the two men were taken to Ntinda Police Station.
The organisation claimed that the men were taken into custody and the movie confiscated without any arrest or search warrants.
The men were later transferred to the Kira Road Police Station and may have been subjected to medical examinations to assess if either had been anally penetrated.
Another report by Chimpreports.com claimed that the men did not undergo the tests after they refused to cooperate. The site also stated that Dhont and “his Kenyan partner were reportedly caught in the act by police detectives”.
Commenting on the news on the Spectrum Uganda Facebook page, one man said: “The former houseboy had intel that steven was gay. He sacked him and the guy blackmailed him. It even went as far as the police. I too was at his home a month ago and he explained everything to me. There is a policewoman who told him to relocate to kenya since Uganda wasnt safe 4 him.”
Spectrum Uganda said that on Tuesday “the duo was paraded before the media houses” and that more news reports on the arrests were expected soon. A warrant has apparently since been issued to search Dhont’s house to help bolster the state’s case.
The practice of police “parading” men accused of homosexuality to the media has become increasingly common in Uganda. It ensures that even if they are later found innocent they could have their lives ruined by the public exposure.
The case reflects the witch-hunt style persecution of gays and lesbians in the country; where people can be targeted even in the privacy of their own home. Gay foreign nationals seem to be particularity vulnerable as their arrests help bolster claims that homosexuality is being imposed on African countries by westerners.
Earlier this month, Bernard Randall, a 65-year-old British retiree living in Uganda, was deported after he and his Ugandan friend and housemate Albert Cheptoyek were arrested in October 2013 for “acts of gross indecency”.
Randall was also charged with “trafficking obscene publications” after a private sex video on his laptop, which was stolen from his home, was exposed by the notoriously homophobic Red Pepper tabloid. Cheptoyek is still to be tried.
Although Uganda’s President has yet to sign the dreaded Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, gay sex acts are illegal under current law and carry penalties including life imprisonment.