Nine young gay men, who were attacked by a homophobic mob, were arrested by Uganda police and tortured while in jail.
They could face charges of sodomy, and could be punished with life imprisonment.
On 15 January, the Rainbow Health Foundation helped the nine men go to an STI screening and treatment visit to a rural area in western Uganda.
After being tested, some of the young men went to go visit a friend, but an anti-gay mob soon gathered with the intention of beating or killing them.
Police initially detained the men to protect them, and began the consideration of filing sodomy charges against them.
But as they were doing this, the mob was not deterred.
‘The mob kept increasing. They followed the boys to the police station, chanting and saying, “Show them no mercy,”‘ Dismus Aine Kevin, director of the RGF, told 76 Crimes.
He said the ‘angry mob made it clear they wanted to break down the police doors’ to get at the young men.
Police took the boys from the local station to district police headquarters, with the mob increasing ‘by the minute’.
Reinforcements were called in, and armed police officers arrived with a vehicle. When the young men were taken to a much more secure district police station, they were put in cells.
During that time, they were subject to an ‘anal examination’. These procedures, which ‘doctors’ claim the larger the width of the whole the more ‘likely’ the person is gay, have been deemed scientifically nonsensical and human rights organizations have condemned these tests as being inconclusive, degrading and a form of torture’.
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum and the Defenders Protection Initiative spent five days trying to free the young men, but were eventually successful on 20 January.
The local council chairman, who confirmed what had occurred has been quoted as saying he wished at least two of them had been killed, so the others ‘would learn a lesson’.
Due to the lack of finances, the men had no option but to return home and to possibly face being attacked again.
76Crimes.com’s Denis LeBlanc said: ‘The young men are living in fear for their lives. Some are house hopping, others are hiding in fields; these young men are in real danger should they be found.’
There are now efforts to raise funds for the victims in order to place them in a safe house or relocate them to a more secure area. Donations can be made to RHF’s PayPal account using their e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.