Bernard Randall in Uganda court on gay sex video charge
- 18 November 2013
- From the section Kent
A retired British man has appeared in court in Uganda accused of possessing a gay sex video.
Bernard Randall, originally from Faversham, Kent, denies a charge of trafficking obscene publications.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda and Mr Randall faces a possible two-year prison sentence if found guilty.
The 65-year-old is charged alongside his friend Albert Cheptoyek, 30, a Ugandan national with whom he shares a house,
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.
Mr Randall was arrested after thieves stole a laptop from his house. Stills from a video on it then appeared in a tabloid.
The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga in Entebbe, Uganda, said: "Bernard Randall was visibly shaken when he arrived at the small town court this morning.
"He described the experience as horrifying. Once inside the hearing was quick. Mr Randall's legal team asked for the case to be adjourned whilst a complaint they made about the handling of his case is dealt with.
"The 65 year-old's case has attracted a lot of international attention. Reporters representing media groups from around the world crammed into and outside the courtroom trying to get a picture of him."
"Mr Randall maintains that his video was leaked after robbers tried to blackmail him and failed.
"But one of the alleged robbers argues Mr Randall gave him the video whilst trying to lure him into being his sexual partner back home in England."
Mr Randall told the BBC this claim was "ridiculous".
He was released on bail and the case was adjourned until 4 December when he will go on trial in Entebbe alongside Mr Cheptoyek.
Actor Stephen Fry and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell have tweeted their support for Mr Randall.
A demonstration was held in central London on Monday to highlight the case and call for laws that make homosexual acts illegal in Uganda to be scrapped.
Mr Tatchell said: "We are protesting against the homophobic witch-hunts and show trials in Uganda.
"These trials violate Uganda's own constitution and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, both of which guarantee equal treatment and non-discrimination to all citizens.
"The criminalisation of homosexuality is contrary to these human rights obligations, which Uganda has agreed and pledged to uphold.
"All charges should be dropped and Uganda's colonial-era anti-homosexual laws repealed."
In 2011, gay rights activist David Kato was beaten to death in Uganda, although police claimed the killing was not related to his sexuality.
The Ugandan parliament is considering legislation aimed at increasing penalties for homosexual acts.