|Activist Samuel K. Ganafa|
Hot on the heels of Uganda on Move activist Mleuben Maccarthy's arrest whilst returning for his mother's funeral, now the Executive Director of Spectrum Uganda has been arrested:
A prominent LGBT advocate in Uganda has been arrested, jailed since Tuesday, and three times had his home raided — all without being informed of the charges against him. At least four other LGBT advocates have been arrested with him, according to reports from Ugandan activists. Police have refused to confirm under what, if any, crimes the activists are suspected of committing.
Samuel K. Ganafa is the executive director of Spectrum Uganda and the board chairman for Sexual Minorities Uganda, two of the most prominent LGBT rights organizations in the East African nation, where homosexuality is illegal.
More in PinkNews: Uganda: Police arrest leading LGBT rights activist Sam Ganafa
Meanwhile, Spectrum's Facebook forum reported the following this morning:
Wonder shall never end... As we woke up this morning Beautiful Sam Samuel Ganafa already in news papers...
Red Pepper once again leading the way in hatred and persecution.
The official press release from SMUG is as follows:
STATEMENT ON THE ARREST AND DETENTION OF MR. SAMUEL K. GANAFA AND FOUR OTHERS
For Immediate Release
Mr. Samuel K Ganafa, The Executive Director of Spectrum Uganda Initiatives and Board Chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), was arrested on Tuesday November 12, 2013. He had reported to Kasangati Police Station on the outskirts of Kampala pursuant to a phone call from the District Police Commander Chemonges Seiko asking him to report to the said station.
Upon reporting to the station he was immediately handcuffed by a police officer. Without show a warrant of arrest he was forced onto a police pickup truck and taken twice to his residence, which was searched. The search was conducted without a search warrant. During the unwarranted search three houseguests of Mr. Ganafa, namely Joseph Kayizi, Kasali Brian and Michael Katongole were also arrested and taken to the police for questioning as well. His nephew Brian Kasirye who had rushed to the police station to check on him was also detained.
Later the police subjected Mr. Ganafa to an HIV test without a court order or his consent.
Yesterday Wednesday 13th November, we received news that a one Disan Twesiga was the complainant. Disan alleges that Sam infected him with HIV and that there is more information in Mr. Ganafa’s reading room prompting another search of the residence. The police took him along for all the three times they searched.
As of today November 14th the complainant Disan Twesiga has held a press conference with all media houses at Kasangati Police Station. The police paraded Mr. Ganafa before the media during a press conference. This is despite the fact that he has not been found guilty by a court and is thus presumed innocent under the law. By close of business today, all the five suspects remain in custody without being officially charged and without being brought before court despite the expiry of the constitutionally warranted 48 hours.
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Spectrum Uganda, Civil society coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law are closely following the case, and have instructed lawyers to represent all the accused. An application for the release of the detainees has been filed and is pending hearing as there was no Magistrate to hear it today.
Sexual Minorities Uganda, Spectrum Uganda Initiatives and Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law strongly condemn the manner in which Mr. Ganafa was arrested and the manner in which the searches were conducted, his humiliating display before the press, as well as the violation of the 48 hour rule for producing a suspect before court.
We also call upon the Ugandan Police to release Mr. Ganafa and the four other arrested persons or immediately produce them before a court of law, and we urge them to respect the basic rights of the suspects.
It is worth noting that this is not an isolated case, but it is one of a series of documented arrests targeted against the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Uganda. We therefore call upon the police to STOP the continued intimidation of the entire LGBTI community and the legal representatives of the detained persons.
Pepe Julian Onziema
+256 772 370 674 firstname.lastname@example.org
Moses Kimbugwe +256 78 383 8259 / 031 251 3345 email@example.com
Spectrum Uganda Initiatives
Francis Onyango +256 414 666 242/ 0712 394 721 firstname.lastname@example.org
Onyango & Co. Advocates
Contact Persons at the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law
Geoffrey Ogwaro +256 782 176 069 Byarugaba Clare +256 774 068 663