Ugandan court rules against Rolling Stone tabloid; bars outing campaign

UPDATE: A coalition of Ugandan human rights groups just now issued a press release describing the ruling. After the text of the initial post, I have the details and a link to the press release.

I don’t have the details yet but according to Frank Mugisha and commenter  Richard Willmer, a Ugandan court issued a ruling today in favor of the plantiffs in the Rolling Stone case.

In early October, 2010, a Ugandan tabloid calling itself the Rolling Stone began a campaign of outing GLBT people in Uganda complete with pictures and personal information. Some people were attacked as a result and sexual minority advocates went to court to stop the campaign. A Ugandan court issued an initial order to stop the outing pending a hearing. Today’s ruling is the result of that hearing. No word yet whether the Rolling Stone will appeal. According to Rolling Stone editor, Giles Muhame, the tabloid will appeal the ruling.

Watch for details…

UPDATE: Here is the press release issued by the coalition of human rights groups with details of the ruling today from a Ugandan court barring the Rolling Stone from outing LBGT people.

The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Uganda warmly welcomes and applauds today’s decision by High Court judge, Justice V.F. Kibuuka Musoke in the case of Kasha Jacqueline, Pepe Onziema & David Kato v. Giles Muhame and The Rolling Stone Publications Ltd.

Through its members Kasha Jacqueline, David Kato and Patience Onziema, the Coalition filed a complaint in the High Court against the Rolling Stone. The Court issued an interim order restraining the editors of the newspaper from any further publication of information about anyone alleged to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender until the case could be finally determined.

After an initial postponement, the merits of the case were heard on November, 2010. The final ruling was read today, 3rd January 2011. In considering whether the Rolling Stone’s publication of alleged homosexuals’ names, addresses and preferred social hang-outs constituted a violation of the applicant’s constitutional rights, the Court, ruled that:

1) The motion is not about homosexuality per se, but ‘…it is about fundamental rights and freedoms,’ in particular about whether ‘the publication infringed the rights of the applicants or threatened to do so’.

2) The jurisdiction of Article 50 (1) of the Constitution is dual in nature, in that it extends not just to any person ‘whose fundamental rights or other rights or freedoms have been infringed in the first place,’ but also to ‘persons whose fundamental rights or other rights or freedoms are threatened to be infringed.’

3) Inciting people to hang homosexuals is an attack on the right to dignity of those thus threatened: ‘the call to hang gays in dozens tends to tremendously threaten their right to human dignity.’

4) Homosexuals are as entitled to the right to privacy as any other citizens. Against the ‘objective test’, ‘the exposure of the identities of the persons and homes of the applicants for the purposes of fighting gayism and the activities of gays…threaten the rights of the applicants to privacy of the person and their homes.’

5) Section 145 of the Penal Code Act cannot be used to punish persons who themselves acknowledge being, or who are perceived by others to be homosexual. Court ruled that ‘One has to commit an act prohibited under section 145 in order to be regarded as a criminal.’ Clearly this applies only to a person who has been found guilty by a court of law.

In terms of the relief sought by the applicants, court issued a permanent injunction preventing The Rolling Stone and their managing editor, Mr. Giles Muhame, from ‘any further publications of the identities of the persons and homes of the applicants and homosexuals generally.’ The injunction thus provides broad protection to other Ugandans who are, or who are perceived to be homosexual, and the ruling provides an important precedent should any other media attempt to publish similar information. The court further awarded UGX. 1,500,000/= to each of the applicants, as well as ordering  that the applicant shall recover their costs from the respondents.

Read the rest of the press release here.

  • http://valkalende@blogspot.com Val Kalende

    I am celebrating with trepidation.

  • anteros

    wow! this is huge!

    *yayness*

  • Maazi NCO

    I agree completely with the Judge’s ruling which is drawn from the privacy provisions of the constitution. It is wrong for any media organization to publish pictures and personal contact details of anybody (regardless of the alleged illegal activity of that person). Of course, nothing stops the Rolling Stones “Journalists” from passing information on people breaking the law to the relevant Iaw enforcement agencies. Contrary to the insinuations of the press release, the judge never said that newspapers could no longer write against gayism or that people could no longer push for stronger measures against it. I think the judge’s ruling is consistent with an earlier one in December 2008 in which Justice Stella Arach awarded damages to a gay sex practitioner who was arrested without evidence that she was caught red-handed in act of sexual deviance.

  • Maazi NCO

    …..In other words, the judge’s ruling supports my earlier statements that Rolling Stone was trying to provoke the public to engage in vigilantism which is against the laws of Uganda.

  • anteros

    lolz @ Maazi

  • Richard Willmer

    It’s a very good result. I was surprised (and very pleased) by the hefty damages awarded against the respondents. This should help to deter other irresponsible and nasty people from breaking Ugandan law in this regard.

  • parkin

    Ugandans, are nuts. There are serious issues they need to handle now than gays. Just imagine the level of corruption, inefficiency in health systems, the poor roads, lack of electricity, lack of water, jiggers and so on. These affect social services and true journalist should have a field day writing award winning stories on these.

    In the developed world, we stay and work with these guys and they are fine and very hard working. They are greatly contributing to the economic growth of countries.

    Please let us concentrate on serious issues and leave those that are an immediate problem. Leave people to enjoy the type of life they choose. I personally have no problem with a gay or heterosexual, after all we all sons and daughters of God.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      parkin – I understand your passion but I caution against stereotyping an entire nation since the judge is also Ugandan. Ugandans do have many things to worry about as do we. However, very persuasive people there have convinced many of them that gays are the source of many of their problems. Any people is capable of losing focus. The same is true here and there and also in places like Pakistan where majority Muslims oppress Christians.

  • Richard Willmer

    Those of us who speak with Ugandans on a daily basis are very aware of the wide range of views on the issues pertaining to this judgement.

    It has to be recognised that Ugandan society is changing very fast, and some (maybe even many) Ugandans are unnerved by this rapid change. My view is that this could the ‘framework’ for much ‘anti-gay sentiment’ sentiment in that country. But many Ugandans are intelligent and resourceful, and that country will find a way to manage the changes that are taking place to their society. Many young, educated Ugandan interlocutors of mine do recognise that ‘homosexuality’ is an issue that has been blown out of all proportion recently and welcome this judgement as an important ‘corrective’ to that situation. It may surprise readers of this blog that research by the Per Forum has suggested that Uganda may be rather more ‘tolerant’ than some anti0gay extremists would like to claim.

    Today’s judgement is not the only indication of a greater sense of proportion. The arrest of ‘pastors’ who have tried to use accusations of ‘homosexuality’ to discredit rivals is another sign that those who run the country are disposed to take a more thoughtful, moderate line that many of us would have dared to hope for fifteen months ago.

  • Wendy Leigh

    Ugandans are being indoctrinated with hate and junk-science by misogynist missionary sex practitioners who intentionally use the crudest of vile language they can come up with to speak about actual human beings and the divine rights of intimacy, sex and love, like “Maazi” here. Fortunately most Ugandans are seeing through this intentional and nonsensical propaganda-for-profit.

  • Richard Willmer

    Fortunately, Wendy, Ugandans generally don’t like to be told ‘what to think’. It may well be that the anti-gay extremists have in fact helped (inadvertently) to promote progress towards more balanced and sensible viewpoint on the part of the majority (or at least a very significant minority).

    And the Bahati Bill? Well now, this judgement is most significant. Why? Because Bahati’s murder strategy was essentially based on the use of ‘informants’ (and thus the use of HEARSAY evidence). As ‘Maazi’ has correctly suggested, hearsay ‘evidence’ and unsubstantiated allegations won’t do (something of which Muhame’s bank manager is now well aware).

    BTW, Muhame will, I assume, have to come up with ‘something new’ (and substantial in legal and/or evidential terms) if he is to get anywhere with an appeal. (I won’t wish him ‘good luck’, though I suspect he may need it!)

  • Richard Willmer
  • Wendy Leigh

    Indeed, but the ruling was VERY specific in that, these minorities are Constitutionally granted their dignity as well. And that, speaks to how they are being referred to as well, which should go a long way to reigning in the disparate and dehumanizing verbal judo being waged by the likes of “Maazi” and his like-minded compatriots, who are now clearly violating the Ugandan Constitution when they speak their dribble.

  • Maazi NCO

    Ugandans, are nuts…..blah, blah, blah

    Thanks for your intelligent contribution to this forum !

    Ugandans are being indoctrinated with hate and junk-science by misogynist missionary sex practitioners who intentionally use the crudest of vile language they can come up with to speak about actual human beings and the divine rights of intimacy, sex and love, like “Maazi” here

    This rubbish is not even worth a reply !!

    However, very persuasive people there have convinced many of them that gays are the source of many of their problems.

    I doubt anyone sensible believes that gay sex practitioners are the root of all evils in Uganda. However, there is a growing recognition —at least since 2005— that gay sex militancy is becoming a problem that should be tackled along with our traditional problems of corruption, bad governance and other issues. So I would say that the vast majority of the Ugandan people will NEVER call for persons who engage in gayism to be hanged from trees, but rather an appropriate prison sentence.

    It has to be recognised that Ugandan society is changing very fast, and some (maybe even many) Ugandans are unnerved by this rapid change.

    The verdict of Justice Victor Kibuuka Musoke may be exciting for you, but it does not prove Uganda is changing at all with regards to gayism (No need to regurgitrate that flawed Pew Research statistics) . Like I said earlier, it is not the first time a judge has ruled in favour of a person who happens to engage in gay sex. The first time was in December 2008, long before Scott Lively and his gang rode to town and David Bahati wrote his bill. What this latest judgement shows is that it is unacceptable for a news organisation to publish the pictures and contact details of anybody (regardless of allegations of illegal activity levelled against that person). Rolling Stones would have been within the law if its owners had passed their information to relevant law enforcement agents rather than publish them in their tabloid with the vigilante mantra —”Hang Them ! ” .

    The arrest of ‘pastors’ who have tried to use accusations of ‘homosexuality’ to discredit rivals is another sign that those who run the country are disposed to take a more thoughtful, moderate line that many of us would have dared to hope for fifteen months ago.

    Well, your take on that matter may well be a conspiracy theory :-) . As far back as September 2009, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recommended the arrest of pastors that accused Robert Kayanja of sodomizing some boys. And that was before the Bahati Bill arrived in parliament.

  • Richard Willmer

    It was indeed a very comprehensive ruling; the repeated references to ‘human dignity’ were most welcome, as were the implied reference to the importance of democratic and constitutional norms. The Ruling is a credit to the Republic of Uganda.

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    I am aware of the history of the allegations against Robert Kayanja.

    As for attitudes to their gay compatriots, I have seen people change their minds. I know this idea causes you discomfort, but I’m convinced that this is happening. (Only today, I lunched with a Ugandan lawyer, and we agreed strongly on this very point. You are, of course, at liberty to disagree with both of us …)

  • Maazi NCO

    Indeed, but the ruling was VERY specific in that, these minorities are Constitutionally granted their dignity as well. And that, speaks to how they are being referred to as well, which should go a long way to reigning in the disparate and dehumanizing verbal judo being waged by the likes of “Maazi” and his like-minded compatriots, who are now clearly violating the Ugandan Constitution when they speak their dribble.

    I am sure that you wish that your extrapolations from the judgement protected gayism and by implication, invalidated the Sex Offenders Act of 2000. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. BTW, if I were the judge looking into the case, I would ruled against the Rolling Stone tabloid.

  • Wendy Leigh

    It moves Hatism by misogynist missionary sex-practitioners like Maazi and Bahitler into the criminal and unconstitutional realm. A great day.

  • Maazi NCO

    As for attitudes to their gay compatriots, I have seen people change their minds. I know this idea causes you discomfort, but I’m convinced that this is happening. (Only today, I lunched with a Ugandan lawyer, and we agreed strongly on this very point. You are, of course, at liberty to disagree with both of us …)

    Of course, there are Ugandans who agree with gay sex or subscribe to libertarian ideology. Those who subscribe to that ideology are the ones who most likely to accept arguments offered by gay sex practitioners about morality, culture and traditions not having any part in framing the laws of a country. The question you should be asking is how many lawyers in Uganda agree with your Ugandan lawyer friend’s opinion? BTW, I am not suffering from any discomfort—-whatever gave you that idea !

  • Maazi NCO

    It moves Hatism by misogynist missionary sex-practitioners like Maazi and Bahitler into the criminal and unconstitutional realm. A great day.

    Hahahahahahahahaha……

  • Wendy Leigh

    Riiiiiiiight. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

  • Richard Willmer

    ‘Maazi’

    Most (maybe all) of the Ugandans with whom I communicate are not ‘gay sex practitioners’, as far as I know, so if that’s what you’re really looking for, I can’t help you.

  • Maazi NCO

    Maazi, I’m amazed that you would repeat your Botswana 2003 2004 2006 line after it was taken care of by James Onen… it’s a worthless line. You can let it go now.

    James Onen, did not address it because it seems he doesn’t know much about it. He asked me to provide him with copies of the 3 verdicts, which I have declined to do since he can request the copies from his foreign gay sex buddies. The Botswana case is quite important because the line of reasoning employed by the judges in the Southern African nation can be relied upon by our own judges in Uganda in case any potential court challenge against the Penal Code Act and its amended descendants.

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