Gay man 'relieved' at Uganda exit

Hampshire Chronicle: Bernard Randall was charged in Uganda after images of him having sex with a man were published in a newspaper Bernard Randall was charged in Uganda after images of him having sex with a man were published in a newspaper

A retired Briton who faced jail in Uganda for possessing a gay sex video has spoken of his relief after being deported to the UK.

Bernard Randall, 65, was charged with trafficking obscene material after private images of him having sex with a man were published in a newspaper in Uganda.

The pensioner, originally from Faversham, Kent, had faced up to two years in jail in the east African country before his case was dropped by the Ugandan authorities this week.

It followed international outcry about his prosecution which led to a judge in Entebbe ordering his deportation from Uganda on Wednesday.

Speaking to the BBC after arriving back in the UK, Mr Randall said it was "terrific" to be reunited with his friends and two daughters.

"It's a great relief to be out of the prison cell," he said.

"Two days in Entebbe airport police station cells wasn't pleasant.

"I'm horrified at how homophobic Uganda is, especially state people - the courts, DPP (director of public prosecutions), the police."

Mr Randall said he was "frustrated" to have been forced to leave Entebbe which had become "home from home".

"If you're going to have a complete life you can't deny your sexuality," he told the BBC.

"It's really upsetting that the Ugandans have moved further to the right, you might say, to be anti-homosexual. It was particularly concerning when they were still talking about 'kill the gays'.

"It's not particularly pleasant to think people spend their lives in prison for being who they're born as. It's so distressing."

Mr Randall's charge arose after his laptop was stolen during a break-in at his holiday home and intimate pictures of him having sex with a man in Morocco were published in a Ugandan newspaper.

He told the BBC he was angry that police had dismissed his robbery complaint after the gay sex video was found.

Back in Uganda, Mr Randall's boyfriend, Albert Cheptoyek, said he fears for his own life as he still faces a more serious charge of gross indecency, which carries a seven-year jail term.

Supporters of the pair say their cases are another example of state-sponsored harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda.

In 2011, Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato was murdered shortly after suing a publication which outed him as homosexual and called for him to be executed.

Mr Cheptoyek, 34, told the Press Association this week that he was concerned he may never see Mr Randall again and that he fears being lynched by anti-gay mobs.

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. The government can't change me because it's my life.

"God has created me, not the government of Uganda. Bernard is being deported because he's gay. I don't know how I'm going to live in Uganda."

Friends of Mr Randall - a retired banking analyst - have been campaigning to get him back to the UK, with his case drawing support from comedian Stephen Fry and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

His deportation comes after attempts by Uganda's MPs to introduce a tough new anti-gay Bill. It would have set life imprisonment for offences including a homosexual act where one of the partners is infected with HIV.

But as the plans came under international scrutiny, Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni refused to approve the controversial Bill earlier this month.

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