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U. K. man held in Uganda to be deported

A British man charged in Uganda after images of him having sex with a man were published in a newspaper is to be deported back to Britain.

Hellen Ajio ruled Bernard Randall, 65, should be deported from Uganda within 12 hours.

All charges against him have been dropped.

He was charged alongside Albert Cheptoyek, 30, a Ugandan national with whom he shares a house.

Randall, from Kent, was arrested in October and charged with “trafficking obscene publications” after Uganda’s Red Pepper newspaper made public the details of the video on its front page under the headline: “Exposed — Top City Tycoon’s Sodomy Sex Video Leaks.”

Randall, who has pleaded not guilty, claims the film was unearthed by robbers who stole his laptop and passed the footage to the newspaper.

He would have faced a possible two-year prison sentence if found guilty.

In December, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for “repeat offenders.”

The U.K. and U.S. governments criticized the move along with business magnate and investor Sir Richard Branson, who has urged for a corporate boycott of Uganda.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni recently announced he would not be signing the bill.

Vatican urges ex-Swiss Guard to detail gay threat

A senior Vatican official has urged a former Swiss Guard commander to come forward with details about accusations that the gay culture in the Vatican posed a security threat to the pope.

Elmar Maeder, who headed the Swiss Guards from 2002-08, said that he didn’t doubt that predatory gays worked at the Vatican. He was quoted as saying that in his experience, “many homosexuals tend to be more loyal toward each other than toward other people or institutions.” He said he wouldn’t promote gay guards out of fear they might be disloyal.

In an interview, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, numbert-two in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, urged Maeder to provide names to back his accusations. His office confirmed his quotes Jan. 24.

Nigeria: Thousands throw stones to urge executions of gays

Nigerian security personnel were forced to fire guns into the air Jan. 22 to disperse thousands of protesters who threw stones at a court containing men accused of being gay.

The demonstrators threw rocks at the Sharia court in Bauchi city, urging the conviction and execution of 11 men arrested for belonging to gay organizations.

After dispersing the crowd, the prisoners were returned safely to the prison, and Judge El-Yakubu Aliyu closed the court following the disruptions.

The judge said in response to calls for the men to be put to death: “No one can be sentenced to death until confirmed without a reasonable doubt.”

Only three of the 11 accused had given testimony before the violence began.

Because of the disruptions, the defense counsel did not succeed in submitting an application for bail, and the remaining eight defendants were not able to give testimony.

The court has not confirmed when proceedings might continue.

A man in Northern Nigeria last week received 20 lashes after the same court convicted him of breaking laws against same-sex activity.

Mubarak Ibrahim, 20, was among 12 Muslim men accused of violating their religion due to their alleged sexuality in recent weeks.

Predominantly Muslim states in Nigeria introduced Sharia law, a legal system based on Islamic theory and philosophy of justice, in 2000.

It sanctions severe physical penalties for violating its code.

There has been worldwide condemnation of Nigeria after the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a draconian antigay bill.

Anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union may be jailed for up to 14 years. The law also bans people who register, operate or participate in gay clubs, societies or organizations, or who publicly show that they are in a same-sex relationship.

Reports out of Northern Nigeria suggest that Sharia-law enforcers have been emboldened by the introduction of the law.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague have all criticized President Jonathan’s decision.

Same-sex relationships were already illegal in the country prior to the new law passing.

Ivory Coast: Mob attacks gay-rights org.

A mob has ransacked the headquarters of Ivory Coast’s most prominent gay-rights organization, underscoring the dangers confronting such groups even in the few African countries where homosexual acts are not crimes. The attack in Ivory Coast took place Jan. 25 but was not publicized until Jan. 27. Nearly 200 people stormed the offices of Alternative Cote d’Ivoire in the suburb of Abidjan, flinging stones to shatter windows and stealing computers. Others heaved sacks of garbage over the property’s exterior walls and left trash and broken glass at the entrance. Signs hung on walls demanded “Stop the homos!” and “Pedes get out!” The word “pede” is short for pederast or pedophile. The violence followed days of antigay protests in Ivory Coast, which is sometimes considered a safe haven for LGBTs fleeing in persecution elsewhere in the continent. It contributed to a growing sense that activists championing gay rights in Africa are under siege.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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