Uganda gay sex case Briton Bernard Randall returns home

Bernard Randall: "If you are going to have a complete life, you cannot deny your sexuality"

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A British man who was facing charges in Uganda of possessing a gay sex video has arrived home after being deported.

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

On Wednesday Judge Hellen Ajio ordered he should be deported from Uganda.

Mr Randall, who would have faced a possible two-year prison sentence if found guilty, said he was looking into the possibility of the Ugandan man he lived with claiming asylum in the UK.

Mr Randall, who first appeared in court in Uganda in November, was charged alongside his friend Albert Cheptoyek, 34, with whom he shared a house.

Start Quote

It's great that he's safe and free, but being gay should never be the grounds for deportation from any country”

End Quote Peter Tatchell Gay rights campaigner

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.

'HIV test'

Mr Randall said he did not have the chance to say a proper goodbye to Mr Cheptoyek.

"I saw him through the glass, I was in the departure lounge waiting to check in. I was able to wave through the glass," he said.

"And in fact one of the policemen outside let him cross the barrier and come up to the window and there was a ventilation grill, and we were actually able to speak through that, but not a proper farewell."

Bernard Randall in custody Mr Randall said he would be campaigning to put pressure on countries with homophobic laws

He said the pair had been taken to a medical centre where a surgeon investigated whether they had had sex by visually checking their private parts and carrying out an internal examination.

"We also had an HIV test," he said.

"There were no court papers to authorise them to do that and they didn't ask permission so two sets of assaults there - both by the police surgeon and by the nurse who took our blood."

He said he would be campaigning to put pressure on countries with homophobic laws as much as possible.

'Terrible ordeal'

After the judge ruled Mr Randall should be deported, Mr Cheptoyek said: "I'm scared to go outside the house. My life is in danger as people are pointing me out on the streets. My case is going on.

"I don't know what the government is going to do to me," he added.

"Bernard is being deported because he's gay. I don't know how I'm going to live in Uganda."

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.

Start Quote

There were no court papers to authorise them to do that and they didn't ask permission”

End Quote Bernard Randall

His friends campaigned to get him back to the UK, with his case drawing support from comedian Stephen Fry and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell said he was "delighted" Mr Randall was back in Britain.

"He has been through a terrible ordeal under Uganda's anti-gay laws, which ironically were imposed upon Uganda by Britain during the colonial era in the 19th Century," he said.

"It's great that he's safe and free, but being gay should never be the grounds for deportation from any country.

"Moreover, we're very concerned for the fate of his flatmate and friend Albert.

"He may still face very serious charges and could face a very long time in prison."

Last week, Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni 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 criticising it would have become punishable by a prison term.

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