James Pirtle is a trial lawyer and owner of The Sentinel Law Group, PLLC, a Seattle law firm and he is an attorney on the ground for Legal Advocacy Worldwide (LAW), a non-profit devoted to financing direct legal advocacy on behalf of the oppressed abroad, including the state-sanctioned persecution of the LGBT community in Africa. This blog chronicles how his involvement in the defense of Thomas Kwoyelo, a former child soldier in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda, developed into a broad international human rights practice with crusading Ugandan attorney John Francis Onyango. This blog begins with their involvement in the Kwoyelo case and continues with updates and developments in the human rights cases. Read from the bottom up to see how it all unfolds.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blog Bost 23 - The Anti-Homosexuality (Kill the Gays) Bill

Blog Post 23 – The Anti-Homosexuality (Kill the Gays) Bill
When last I wrote in October, I let everyone know about the creation of Legal Advocacy Worldwide (LAW) , a new non-profit that is supporting our efforts at direct legal advocacy in the human rights arena.  Initial fundraisers are in the planning phase to raise money to secure their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and hopefully raise even more so that we can fly Francis to Seattle in February.  We will have another event when he is here and I hope that any of you that can make it will do so and meet this extraordinary man.  I will announce as details fall together.
I also had a productive meeting with Seattle University School of Law and discussed future collaboration with the International Law Clinic.  The contours of that relationship are yet to be defined but I look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship wherein we can access their resources and give students the opportunity to help work on the cases.
I am happy to report that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Gambia is going to hear our petition on Kwoyelo’s illegal detention next month.  I will, of course, keep you abreast of all of the developments in his case.
But tonight I am writing about the human rights work.  In November, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of Uganda’s parliament, stated that they would pass the Anti-Homosexuality (Kill the Gays) Bill prior to the end of their session as a Christmas gift to the people of Uganda.  As repugnant as this is on a variety of levels, at least the parliamentary session ended without the bill having passed.  Here is a link to a New Yorker article about what transpired.
The man in the photograph is Frank Mugisha, the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).  I wrote about meeting with him and Francis in Post 21.  Here is another article from the Observer in Uganda discussing not so much how the legislation is morally odious but how it is detrimental to Uganda’s economy and we have a strategy to challenge it.  LAW is in existence to make it financially possible to do just that.  We have also been promised assistance from Human Dignity Trust, a UK pro-human rights organization:  
Once again, I will be sending out notices regarding our fundraisers and hope that those of you who can attend will do so and those of you who can’t can still easily donate to LAW here:  Please tell your friends.  We really need the help.