UK
14/11/2013 06:40 GMT | Updated 14/11/2013 06:57 GMT

Brit Bernard Randall Faces Trial Over Gay Sex Pictures In Uganda

A British pensioner is living in fear in Uganda after photos showing him having sex with a man were published in a newspaper.

Bernard Randall's computer was stolen during a break-in at his home and the private images then appeared in print.

He is now facing criminal charges in the east African country, one of the world's most hostile places towards gay people .

bernard randall

Bernard Randall

Randall, 65, originally from Faversham, Kent, said he faces a charge of trafficking obscene material - which could carry a two-year jail term.

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His Ugandan partner, 30-year-old Albert Cheptoyek, who faces a more serious charge of gross indecency.

Randall said he was blackmailed over the images before being detained by the Ugandan authorities and held in cells for three days in squalid conditions before being charged.

Speaking from Uganda, he told the Press Association: "The charges are nonsensical.

"The publication of the pictures was as a consequence of the theft of my laptop. I wasn't publishing them. They were very private videos of my private life that got stolen."

Speaking on his reaction to being charged, he added: "I was devastated.

"The worst thing was being taken away from our home at 6.30am and thrown into cells where we spent three nights and three whole days until we were charged.

"There was just a concrete floor, no blankets and no pillows, and it wasn't very comfortable. There were quite a lot of people, 18 other criminals in there.

"They had seen the newspaper in the cell so they all were aware of the situation."

Randall said he had been facing the more serious charge of being involved in an "unnatural act" but that he now only faces a charge relating to the video taken from his computer.

Uganda has some of the harshest gay laws in Africa, and its legislation has faced formal diplomatic protests from other countries.

Homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in jail, but the country's lawmakers are proposing to extend the penalty to life imprisonment.

Friends of Randall are now campaigning to get him back to the UK, and his case has drawn support from comedian Stephen Fry and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

An online petition calling for him to be saved from imprisonment said Uganda's gay laws were a "moral outrage" and that he was "scared out of his mind and at the mercy of mob rule and vigilantism".

One of Mr Randall's friends, Dr Nick Fabbri, told BBC South East Today: "Talking to Bernard, there is a level of vigilantism that exists in Uganda against gays. I wouldn't want to be in his position and we all feel terribly for him."

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman in London said: "We are aware of the arrest of a British national on 19 October in Uganda, and are providing consular assistance."

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