Stephen Fry shows solidarity with British gay man facing possible jail in Uganda

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Broadcaster and actor Stephen Fry has expressed his dismay and anger over the plight of a British gay man living in Uganda who could be jailed after his sexuality was made public by a Ugandan newspaper.

Bernard Randell was charged with “trafficking obscene publications” after Uganda’s Red Pepper splashed details of his private life on its front page.

Mr Randell claims robbers who stole his laptop unearthed a pornographic video from the computer and passed the footage to the newspaper.

He was arrested earlier this month and appeared at Entebbe Magistrates’ Court with a Ugandan man last week.

The 65-year-old retired banker is too afraid to leave his home in Kampala for fear of violence.

A Facebook group titled ‘Bring Bernard Home’ has now been set up. Responding to an email from a friend of Mr Randell, Stephen Fry said it was a “frustrating” and “maddening” situation.

He also mentioned his recent BBC documentary that charted widespread homophobia across Ugandan society.

Mr Fry wrote: –

“My suggestion is that you write to Nick Clegg and to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is very difficult of course for them to interfere in the ‘justice’ systems of another country. If I had influence over the government of Uganda I wouldn’t have needed to make the programmes in the first place. It’s so frustrating and I can imagine how frightening and upsetting it is for you.

“My very best wishes. If you think there is a way of framing your request for justice in the form of an appeal that can be expressed in a tweet I would be happy to make it, but be advised that countries like Uganda do not like to feel they are being bullied by members of ex-Colonial countries, however anti-colonial we may now be…

“Best of luck and sorry that I don’t have a simple solution. That was the point of the programme really… so maddening.”