Ugandan asylum seeker wins Sappho prize

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The editor of a website that documents the violence and intimidation suffered by the gay community in Uganda has won a prestigious prize.

The Sappho in Paradise Book Prize is conferred annually by the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network (ILGCN), a worldwide voluntary association of lesbian and gay cultural workers.

Kizza Musinguzi, editor of, and an ayslum seeker in the UK, is the winner this year. “documents the organised campaign of violent religious and state-sponsored homophobia sweeping the strategic African nation,” saidILGCN.

The Book Prize handover ceremony will take place during a public demonstration tomorrow sponsored by the National Union of Students outside Uganda House in Trafalgar Square, London.

“It is deeply moving to see our 2008 book prize awarded to Kizza Musinguzi and,” said ILGCN Literature Secretary Ian Stewart.

“The worsening situation for lesbians and gay men in Uganda at the hands of the Anglican Church and BAe reveals the violent homophobia with which the UK Establishment is happy to be associated, in callously exploiting some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network was founded in 1992.

Last month two human rights advocates in Uganda were held for a week without charges after police accused them of “recruiting homosexuals.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the illegal detention of George “Georgina” Oundo and “Brenda” Kiiza was part of “a pattern of police harassment of LGBT people in Uganda.”

They were held seven days without being brought before a judge or having charges laid against them.

President of Uganda Kaguta Yoweri Museveni and other officials have spoken out against homosexuals on numerous occasions.

In June this year, Ugandan Bishop Luzinda said:

“I have been hearing that gays are demanding that the government should legalise their activities.

“This is absurd because God created a man and woman so that they can produce and fill this world.

“The government should not be tempted to legalise this backward culture which is bound to destroy this country.

“Not all that comes from Europe is superior and must be taken up by us,” Bishop Luzinda said.

Mr Museveni spoke of his country’s “rejection” of homosexuality during a speech he gave at the wedding of a former MP’s daughter earlier this year.

He said the purpose of life was to create children and that homosexuality was a “negative foreign culture.”

During his time in office LGBT Ugandans have been repeatedly threatened, harassed or attacked. Many have fled the country.