Stella Nyanzi, Ugandan LGBT ally, flees for safety to Germany

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1/22/22

Ugandan LGBT ally and academic scholar Dr Stella Nyanzi has fled to Germany with her children over fears of government persecution, arrest and torture. “I refuse to be gagged. I refuse to be silenced!” She wrote on her social media page on Jan. 19 as she prepared to leave the country. Her departure came a few weeks after the arrest and alleged torture by security agencies of another dissident writer, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, a PEN award-winning activist, who published tweets that allegedly insulted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his son. Rukirabashaija, who was named International Writer of Courage by PEN last year, has been illegally detained and tortured for criticising the president and his son, his lawyer told local media. On Dec. 28, after a series of tweets about Museveni, including one calling him a thief and his son and presumed successor “an incompetent pig-headed curmudgeon,” gunmen forced their way into Rukirabashaija’s house and arrested him. Human rights groups condemned the arrest. Nyanzi wrote before her departure: “Go to where you are wanted! Go to where your skills and talents are appreciated. Go to where your children are safe even when you speak and write ugly truths to power. Go to where you will flourish when you work hard. “When Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was abducted from his home, illegally detained in unknown military facilities for fourteen days, tortured during interrogation and denied access to his lawyers or doctors for fourteen days, I knew it was time to beat it and flee (yet again). “I refuse to be gagged. I refuse to be silenced! Critical writers must never be threatened merely for writing critically about brutal abusers of power flourishing under dictator Museveni. “Bye-bye Museveni’s Uganda! “Germany, please be good to me and my children.”

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