Colleagues of LGBTQ+ defender Frank Mugisha arrested and harrased

Bergen, 13 June 2022

The world celebrates Pride. In Uganda, two employees of Rafto Laureate 2011, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), were arrested after reporting a case of malicious damage of property. In the recent months, SMUG employees have undergone harrasment, threaths and allegations, as an attemt to put the organisation to silence.

SMUG Writes this in a statement 9 June 2022:

"On Thursday 19th May 2022, two colleagues of SMUG went to police to report a case of malicious damage to property at Ntinda Police Station in Kampala.

Instead of their case being recorded and investigated, they were both placed under arrest, coerced to make statements, and detained overnight on assault charges against the perpetrator of the cases they had gone to report. (...) They were released on bond on Monday 23rd May 2022 on condition that they report back to police weekly until investigations against them and SMUG were concluded.

However, during their second bond reporting on 7th June 2022, we were informed that the investigations were concluded, and that they would be detained overnight and appear in court the following day. Yesterday, 8th June 2022; the two colleagues were presented to court and fortunately they were granted bail and hearing set for 22nd June 2022."

"SMUG shall not be intimidated and silenced by these false and malicious allegations"

SMUG, press release 9 June 2022

Ongoing harrasment and threats of closure

SMUG also states that between 19 May and to date, leaders and volunteers are undergoing harassment, blackmail, threats of exposure in the media, threats of arrest and malicious allegations of ‘recruitment of children into homosexuality’ across the country which has prompted the NGO Bureau and other government institutions to investigate, harass and threaten SMUG with closure. SMUG also been informed that the Uganda Police Force has opened general investigations into SMUG and its leaders.

Call to action

The Rafto Foundation supports SMUG in its call to the leadership of the Uganda Police Force to put an end to these investigations and to immediately drop false charges against the employees at SMUG.