Samuel Ganafa (Source: Facebook)
After an almost year-long ordeal that left his life in tatters, a Ugandan court has dismissed charges against leading LGBTI activist Samuel K Ganafa.
Ganafa was facing homosexuality charges of committing “unnatural offences,” and faced life imprisonment.
The blog Erasing 76 Crimes reports that the court finally dismissed the case after the prosecution repeatedly asked for postponements in the matter.
Ganafa, who works for a telecommunications company and also heads up two Ugandan LGBTI rights groups, including Spectrum Uganda Initiatives (SMUG), was arrested on November 12, 2013 along with three of his house guests.
Ganafa was reportedly forced to undergo an HIV test by the authorities and was humiliatingly paraded in front of the media at a police press conference.
His arrest was splashed across the pages of local tabloids, including the notoriously anti-gay Red Pepper newspaper. He was the only one of the four whose case went to trial.
Ganafa welcomed the court’s move, writing on Facebook: “The court action is a good sign, because it’s independent and opens a window of hope for us.
“We also expect the same action to be taken in other cases currently before the courts. I pray that the courts will ward off possible pressures from the anti-gay lobby.”
He added that: “Regarding my personal security, it remains a priority because some of our adversaries have vowed to strike again. That means that I and others need to be very careful with people who come close to us.”
In August, Uganda’s Constitutional Court annulled the country’s reviled Anti-Homosexuality Act, but gay sex remains illegal under previous colonial-era legislation, with penalties including life imprisonment.