Three antigay Christian pastors in Uganda accused of a smear campaign against another religious leader, whom they allegedly accused of having sexual relations with young men, are facing conspiracy charges that could lead to five-year jail sentences, according to one regional report.
Via Behind the Mask:
Magistrate John Patrick Wekesa ruled this morning in Kampala that the three Christian preachers, Martin Ssempa, Solomon Male, and Bob Kyazze should start defending themselves against charges of involvement in conspiracy to damage [Robert] Kayanja's name by way of a homophobic smear campaign.
The court has set December 19 as the date for the pastors to defend themselves.
The accused pastors, their lawyers, Henry Ddungu and David Kaggwa, together with David Mukalazi and Deborah Kyomuhendo (agents of the accused) face charges of conspiring to injure Pastor Kayanja's reputation. The two lawyers were included for allegedly commissioning false affidavits.
Ssempa, a notorious antigay leader in Uganda, has a history of support from American evangelical megachurches, including Canyon Ridge in Las Vegas and Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif. Warren claimed in 2009 that he and his church had repudiated their relationship with Ssempa two years prior.
In an October 2010 statement, Canyon Ridge leaders said the church had cut its financial and pastoral support of Ssempa and condemned "acts of violence against any person regardless of sexual orientation."