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February 19, 2014

HIV Physician Paul Semugoma at Risk of Deportation to Uganda

Paul Semugoma, MD, a gay HIV/AIDS physician from Uganda living in South Africa, has been threatened with deportation, Agence France Press (AFP) reports. South African immigration officials at an airport in Johannesburg detained him after he returned from a meeting in Zimbabwe.

Advocates are seeking his release because they claim Semugoma is wanted in Uganda for his activism regarding LGBT issues. As a result, advocates fear he would be in danger if he returned to Uganda. Immigration officials are still holding him, despite a court order mandating his release.

Semugoma gave a passionate speech on behalf of LGBT and HIV-positive people during the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, in which he also came out as gay. He went to South Africa after the 2012 conference and has not returned to Uganda since then.

He applied for a work permit in South Africa in 2012, but the application was declined twice. Instead, Semugoma was given a receipt for travel by the home affairs department, which he has used for several trips in and out of South Africa without incident.

The Ugandan parliament has passed a bill that would criminalize homosexual acts. People convicted of “aggravated homosexuality”—which includes same-sex acts with children or by anyone who is HIV positive—could face life in prison. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has said he will sign the bill into law.

To read the AFP article, click here.

To read our Q&A with Semugoma, click here.

Search: Paul Semugoma, Uganda, South Africa, deportation


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