Mr Bernhard Bery Glaser before Masaka High court on September 9, 2019. PHOTO BY MALIK FAHAD JJINGO
Mr Bernhard Glaser, a German national who has been battling cases of sexual abuse in court following accusations of molesting Ugandan girls has passed on.
According to his lawyer Evans Ochieng, Glaser died on Thursday morning from Luzira Prison.
Glaser, also known as Bery, was on Wednesday granted a cash bail of Shs30m by Kampala High Court Judge Moses Kazibwe to enable him travel to Belgium for cancer treatment. However, he was sent back to prison after failing to raise the money.
Prisons spokesperson Mr Frank Baine, while confirming the Glaser’s death, said they are waiting on the German Embassy’s guidance on the way forward.
“Accordingly, even at the time of arrest he had a history of cancer and after his arrest he was still sick, he was taken to Masaka hospital and later transferred to Murchison Bay hospital then Mulago where he stayed for two months,” Mr Baine said.
“He was given a referral to go abroad for treatment and since there was no space for him at Mulago, he had to come back to Murchison Bay where he breathed his last . The relatives and stakeholders are informed including the German Embassy,” he added.
Glaser was the Director of Ssese Humanitarian Services, a Community Based Organisation located at Mwena landing site in Kalangala district. The humanitarian initiative was reportedly set up to provide rehabilitation services to infected, affected, abused and violated girls in Kalangala district. The centre known among locals as Bery’s place also provided psychosocial care to victims of sexual-related offences.
At the place, Glaser hosted only female children who received training in reflexology and Sexual Reproductive Health.
However, he was later accused of sexually harassing the less privileged children under his care, leading to his arrest and subsequent trial. He faced eight charges of aggravated defilement and 19 counts of aggravated child trafficking.
He was first arrested in November 2013 and charged after two children under his care accused him of sexual abuse. The minors aged between 12 and 14, said that Glaser had repeatedly defiled them since 2007. He stayed in detention for more than two months.
During the operation in which he was arrested, police recovered a dildo and lubricants that he allegedly applied to the victims before defiling them. The detectives found that all girls at the facility had implants, one of the options used by women in family planning.
Subsequently, 21 suspected victims were relocated to Kampala for safe custody, but 19 of the children returned to Kalangala days later.
In 2015, Justice 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 cancer of the skin (Melanoma) and diabetes. His request was however rejected by Justice Winfred Nabisinde on grounds that his health condition is not so grave to withstand trial. She noted that Glaser had not been denied access to any medical care and that all medical reports don’t reveal that there is an unmanageable condition that can result to death.
Although he was expected to get medical treatment from German following the recommendation of the head of the Uganda Cancer Institute, Dr Jackson Orem, Mr Glaser remained in prison, while seeking care from cancer institute.
According to Dr Orem, there was evidence of progression of cancer, to a level that could not be handled by the Uganda Cancer Institute. Stage four melanoma means cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, or other organs and tissue.
The organization’s website describes Bery as a dreamer with a big heart. “He has a pragmatic, can-do attitude, is committed and creates facts. Bery is able to achieve where others fail.”
Additional reporting by NTV Uganda
Source Daily Monitor.