Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Today in court

Update: Ugandan LGBT/HIV human rights defenders court hearing adjourned to Friday, 25th.07.2008

Date: 9th July, 2008

The three Ugandan LGBT/HIV human rights defenders that were arrested and detained on the 4th of June 2008 and charged with criminal trespass, appeared in court today Wednesday the 9th of July 2008 at 9:30 am, at the Buganda Road Magistrate’s court in KampalaUganda.

The Public prosecutor brought to court the same state witness who was in court yesterday detective constable Opor. Nicholas. This witness showed court four placards, which was contradicting what he told court yesterday that the placards were only two. However the four placards in court read: “Zero shillings for gays for HIV prevention in Uganda”, “Gay Ugandans also need HIV prevention care”, “Health is a fundamental Human Right, gay Ugandans inclusive.”, “Gay Ugandans are also Ugandans” .

The defense lawyer for the three LGBTI human rights defenders inquired from the state witness what was annoying about the placards, which prompted him to arrest and charge his clients with an offense of criminal trespass. In his response he said nothing was annoying about the placards, but the three accused were interrupting the HIV/AIDS Implementers meeting.

The lawyer asked the state witness to tell court who had convened the meeting. The state witness informed court that it was the Americans. He was further asked by the defense lawyer, to tell court who is accusing the three

activists for trespass. He replied, ‘The State’. The defense lawyer told court that his clients where duly invited for the conference and he showed court, registration forms for HIV/AIDS Implementers meeting 3rd – 7th June 2008 for the three activists, and a letter accompanying the registration forms signed by the Ambassador U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and a support letter signed by all the conference organizers. The Defense lawyer said

the State can not file a charge against his clients, if the organizers of the conference registered and invited the three activists to attend the conference.

The Public Prosecutor asked court to adjourn the hearing. This she said will give them time to bring more state witnesses to court. The Defense lawyer had no objection to the adjournment. Court was adjourned to Friday July 25, 2008

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