New date set for bias ruling in Uganda homophobic smear case

February 20 is the date when a court in Uganda will rule on whether the magistrate handling the homophobic smear conspiracy case against three Christian anti–gay preachers is biased against the accused.

The Chief Registrar of Uganda’s Courts was meant to have made the ruling in an on-going probe on the conduct of magistrate John Patrick Wekesa on January 18, but Edward Sekabanja, a defence counsel for the accused preachers told Behind the Mask in Kampala that the ruling date had since been changed to February 20.

Sekabanja added, “I can tell you Wekesa has been moved to another court in Nakawa (a Kampala suburb).”

In a letter dated December 15, 2011, seen by Behind the Mask, the accused preachers claimed that the trial magistrate, John Patrick Wekesa had “constantly threatened them throughout the trial.”

The letter is also copied to the Chief Magistrate Buganda Road Court in Kampala where the case is being heard.

The preachers are alleged to have conspired to falsely accuse a fellow Christian preacher, Robert Kayanja, the Head of Miracle Centre Cathedral in Kampala of sodomising young men in his church.

The three accused are Pastor Solomon Male of Arising for Christ Ministries, Pastor Martin Sempa of Makerere Community Church and Pastor Michael Kyazze of Omega Healing Centre

The protest letter, signed by the three preachers and Pastor Robert Kayiira also of Omega, has halted the trial.

The accused were supposed to begin their defence after the trial magistrate ruled last month that they had a case to answer. The case file has been returned to the Chief Magistrate Vincent Mugabo.

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