Ugandan Court Bars Photos, Names of Gays in Paper

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Uganda's high court has ordered a controversial newspaper to stop publishing the names and photographs of people it says are gay, ruling that the publication is violating their right to privacy.

A gay rights group, Sexual Minorities Uganda, sought the injunction after the paper on Monday published its second straight edition with names and photos. The first edition, published in early October, sparked attacks against at least four gay Ugandans, Sexual Minorities Uganda said.

Justice Vincent Kibuuka Musoke ordered Rolling Stone on Monday to stop publishing the names and photos of gay Ugandans at least until Nov. 23, when Musoke said a final ruling will be made. Musoke said he ordered the injunction because publishing names and photos "is an infringement of the right to privacy of those whose photos appear in it."

Julian Onziema, the program coordinator for Sexual Minorities Uganda, said the group was happy with the justice's injunction but that other publications are beginning to print the same kinds of stories.

"We filed a suit against the paper for abuse of our fundamental human rights of privacy, association and security," Onziema said. "However my happiness might be short-lived because there are other tabloids in Uganda which are taking over from where Rolling Stone exploded from. They are making people hate us."

Rolling Stone's managing editor, Giles Muhame, says that publishing photos of gay Ugandans can help police find them. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and anyone caught in a homosexual act can face up to 14 years in prison.

Gays in Uganda say they have faced a year of attacks and harassment since a lawmaker introduced a bill in October 2009 that would impose the death penalty for some homosexual acts and life in prison for others. The bill has not come up for a vote.

The legislation was drawn up following a visit by leaders of U.S. conservative Christian ministries that promote therapy they say allows gays to become heterosexual.

The bill became political poison after international condemnation, and many Christian leaders have denounced it.