Briton held over gay sex video to be deported from Uganda


A British man in facing charges of possessing a gay sex video should be deported immediately, a court ruled on Wednesday, but his partner still fears being sent to jail.

Bernard Randall, 65, would be because he had "kept on corrupting Uganda's youth" and failed to renew his visa, a prosecution official said.

But Randall's Ugandan partner, Albert Cheptoyek, admitted he was frightened because a more serious charge of gross indecency, carrying a possible seven-year prison sentence, still hung over him.

The court's ruling comes a week after the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, that would mandate life imprisonment for any same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person.

Randall, originally from Faversham, Kent, moved to Uganda last year. He claims his laptop, containing images of him having sex with another man in Morocco, was stolen during a break-in at his home.

The alleged thieves passed the images to a leading Christian evangelist who gave them to a tabloid newspaper. The paper published screen grabs from the video, prompting Randall and Cheptoyek's .

On Wednesday the court in Entebbe ordered that a charge of trafficking obscene material, which carries a two-year jail term, should be dropped against Randall but ordered that he be escorted home to pack his belongings and taken to the airport to leave.

Judge Hellen Ajio said: "The court orders immediate deportation within 12 hours."

Randall's lawyer, John Francis Onyango, had requested that his client be given five days in which to leave the country but declined to appeal against the ruling.

"We are glad that the state did, indeed, drop them [the other charge], because our position has been that there is no adequate evidence to charge Bernard Randall," Onyango told AFP.

"We are concerned about his deportation on flimsy grounds … but we are not making an appeal because it doesn't serve much purpose."

Randall, a former banking computer analyst, said the allegations against him were lies. Asked by AFP how he felt about the court decision, Randall, a widower with two grown-up daughters, said, "I don't know yet. But it is going to be great to finally go home. To see my family."

Cheptoyek, 30, said the deportation order was not fair. : "I think they have deported him because he is gay. Because the government doesn't want gays. This is what the judge said, that we don't allow homosexuality in Uganda." The trial has not yet started. "I'm scared," Cheptoyek added. "Mostly because I am staying in the country. I don't know if they will put me in prison. Because they said that we are like husband and wife in the house. It is making me scared, because my case is still continuing."

The couple's case has drawn support in Britain from the gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and Stephen Fry.

Homophobia is rife in Uganda, partly fuelled by fundamentalist Christianity imported from the US, a trend featured in the award-winning documentary film . In 2010, a Ugandan newspaper published the names of 100 men it said were gay under the headline "Hang them."

Last year, Uganda dropped charges against David Cecil, a British theatre producer accused of staging a play about gay people without proper authorisation, and instead.

Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights programme at Human Rights Watch, said of 76 countries in the world where same-sex conduct is outlawed, 38 are in . He said Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda were among the most extreme examples.