By Florence Kyohangirwe (Kakatshozi)
67 of the 127 Ugandan partiers arrested at RAM, an LGBTQi+ friendly bar in Kampala have appeared before Buganda Road Court this afternoon on charges of being a nuisance to the public.
In case you missed the arrest details click the link Uganda Police Raids LGBTQi+ Friendly Bar, Arrests Made.
They were separated into five groups and appeared in different sessions. 3 of the 5 groups did not have a hearing as the State attorney was unavailable and were remanded to prison until later dates whilst 2 groups had theirs but with no better luck. They too had their cases adjourned to further dates.
The accused, 6 women and 31 men, most of who did not have sureties, were represented by Counsel Patricia Kimera from Human Rights Awareness and Promotion (HRAPF). They will re-appear in court on November 15th, 18th and 22nd and 29th.
Activist Shawn Mugisha has been working with Rella Women’s Foundation, an LBTQ non-profit, and HRAPF to get most of the detained out and to get the others representation, he says, “The case has now blown out of proportion and the authorities cannot just let everyone out. They have already gone on National TV and said these are criminals and the world is now watching, they can’t mess with their credibility which is now under scrutiny. Much as we were able to get some people out, some had to appear in court. Others are still in custody because of their reactions when they were arrested.”
It was a dull mood outside court as everyone was dissatisfied with the magistrate’s decision. The Rella team bought some necessities like sanitary towels and soap for the 6 women still under custody. Joan Amek, the Rella director said that the community needs to be there for each other and be each other’s keepers now more than ever.
The community hopes that the next court appearance brings better news. Hopefully bail.