A model and socialite from Uganda was blackmailed for $3,000 (£2,300) when someone stole her nude selfies and threatened to publish them online.
Judith Heard, 32, refused to pay and her photos were leaked without her consent in 2013. But in May this year, the nude photos of her began to circulate online again only this time she was arrested under Uganda’s Anti-Pornography Act. She claims the photos came from a stolen phone or computer and insists she never sent them to anyone.
Heard was one of three women who had their nude pictures or sex tapes shared online without their consent. Police officer Esther Akol had a nude photo of her in uniform circulating online but she said her ex-boyfriend had maliciously edited the photo to appear as her.
During a press conference, the Pornography Control Committee chair, Annette Kezaabu, referenced Akol’s case saying that ‘woman can be both a victim and perpetrator at the same time’.
Kezaabu suggested marriage breakdown, the spread of HIV, teenage pregnancies and domestic violence are among the ‘dangers of pornography’.
She told CNN the government’s ‘eventual aim is to have no footage of sex or nudity on TV whatsoever’, and that the committee intends to ‘go after’ pop stars who wear revealing clothing.
‘I think that the Anti-Pornography Act is evidence of how little the government itself cares about women, about their rights, and also about, I would say, their desire to control a woman’s agency,’ Kezaabu added.
However, Heard disagrees with Kezzabu and said: ‘Why is it that women in Uganda are being punished for everything, instead of the government punishing the people who are damaging us?’
The police are still searching for Heard’s stolen devices because without them she has a ‘very weak defence’, according to a police spokesperson.
If she is found guilty of the offence, she can be fined or imprisoned for up to 10 years.
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