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February 24, 2014

HIV Physician Paul Semugoma Not Deported to Uganda

Paul Semugoma, MD, a gay HIV/AIDS physician from Uganda living in South Africa, will not be deported, The Guardian reports.

Following an outpouring of support for Semugoma by advocates in South Africa and worldwide, immigration officials have dropped their case after detaining him at an airport in Johannesburg when he returned from a meeting in Zimbabwe.

Advocates were seeking his release because they claim Semugoma is wanted in Uganda for his activism regarding LGBT issues. As a result, advocates feared he would be in danger if he returned to Uganda. Immigration officials had continued to hold him even after 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 signed the bill into law.

To read the Guardian article, click here.

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

Search: Paul Semugoma, Uganda, South Africa, deportation


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