By Richard A Luce in London and Ruth Namatovu in Kampala
A verdict handed down to Uganda’s soccer star Chris Mubiru has been widely condemned by a leading human rights activist in London who has called it a violation of Articles 1 and 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
Mubiru, who played for SC Villa in Uganda as well as for the national football team, The Cranes before ending up as a manager of SC Villa, was last week found guilty by a Kampala magistrate’s court on charges of sodomising a 16-year old boy Emmanuel Nyanzi. Presiding over the case, Buganda Road Magistrate Flavia Nabakooza said: “The evidence produced against Mubiru was overwhelmingly substantial and pinned him beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the offence.” Mubiru was also accused of having sexual intercourse with both female and male couples against the order of nature contrary to Section 145(a) of the Uganda Penal Code.
Commenting on the verdict, Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner and the director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation said: “The case against Chris Mubiru for same-sex acts should never have been bought to court.” He added: “He’s a victim of theft, invasion of privacy, blackmail and extortion, which are criminal offences.” According to Tatchell, the perpetrators who brought up this discriminatory case, should themselves be prosecuted.
Arguing that the verdict against Mubiru violated both the Ugandan constitution and the Africa Charter on human and people’s rights, Tatchell, 63, further said: “The laws against homosexuality are a violation of Article 21 of the Uganda’s constitution, which guarantees equal rights and non-discrimination to all Ugandan citizens. They are also a violation of Articles 2 and 3 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which Uganda has signed and pledged to uphold.”