Mr. Bernhard Glaser, a German national who has fought sexual abuse cases in court over charges of assaulting Ugandan girls has died.
According to his lawyer Evans Ochieng, Glaser died Thursday morning in Luzira prison.
Glaser, also known as Bery, was granted Shs 30million cash bond on Wednesday by Kampala High Court Judge Moses Kazibwe to allow him to travel to Belgium for treatment against the cancer. However, he was sent back to prison after failing to raise the money.
Prisons spokesman Mr Frank Baine, while confirming Glaser’s death, said they were awaiting advice from the German Embassy on the way forward.
“As a result, even at the time of his arrest he had a history of cancer and after his arrest he was still ill, he was taken to Masaka hospital then transferred to Murchison Bay hospital then to Mulago where he stayed for two months, ”Baine said. .
“He was referred to go overseas for treatment and as there was no room for him at Mulago he had to return to Murchison Bay where he took his last breath. Relatives and stakeholders are informed, including the German Embassy, ”he added. .
Glaser was the director of humanitarian services for Ssese, a community organization located at the Mwena landing site in Kalangala district. The humanitarian initiative was reportedly set up to provide rehabilitation services to infected, affected, abused and raped girls in Kalangala district. The center known to locals as Bery’s Place also provided psychosocial care to victims of sexual offenses.
On site, Glaser only welcomed girls who had received training in reflexology and sexual and reproductive health.
However, he was later accused of sexually harassing the less privileged children in his care, which led to his arrest and trial. He faced eight counts of aggravated defilement and 19 counts of aggravated child trafficking.
He was first arrested in November 2013 and charged after two children in his care accused him of sexual abuse. The minors between the ages of 12 and 14 said Glaser had repeatedly soiled them since 2007. He has been in detention for more than two months.
During the operation during which he was arrested, the police recovered a dildo and lubricants which he allegedly applied to the victims before soiling them. Detectives discovered that all of the girls at the facility had implants, one of the options women use in family planning.
Subsequently, 21 alleged victims were transferred to Kampala for police custody, but 19 of the children returned to Kalangala a few days later.
In 2015, Judge John Eudes Keitirima dismissed all cases against him due to lack of evidence. The case was reinstated in February 2019.
Glaser had applied for bail to seek treatment for stage four skin cancer (melanoma) and diabetes. His request, however, was rejected by Judge Winfred Nabisinde on the grounds that his state of health was not so serious to withstand a trial. She noted that Glaser had not been denied access to any medical treatment and that not all medical reports reveal that there is an unmanageable condition that can lead to death.
Although he is expected to receive medical treatment from the German on the recommendation of the Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, Dr Jackson Orem, Mr Glaser remained in prison, while seeking care from the Cancer Institute.
According to Dr Orem, there was evidence of cancer progression, to a level that could not be managed by the Uganda Cancer Institute. Stage four melanoma means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, or other organs and tissues.
The organization’s website describes Bery as a dreamer with a big heart. “He has a pragmatic and dynamic attitude, he is committed and creates facts. Bery is able to succeed where others fail.”
Additional reporting from NTV Uganda