Kampala, Uganda — When she heard the information of her abuser’s demise, Hope mentioned that she felt like her coronary heart had stopped beating for just a few seconds. “I didn’t know how to respond. I was broken, I shivered. I didn’t know whether to believe it or not, to cry or not,” she wrote to CNN.
“I credit him for the good deeds he did but no one is perfect, there is also a dark side of him and that’s what people have failed to understand,” mentioned Hope, whose identify has been modified to guard her id.
Glaser died in early May at Murchison Bay Hospital, a facility treating inmates of Luzira Prison in Kampala, Uganda. The day earlier than his demise, he had been granted bail, together with worldwide depart for medical remedy for stage 4 pores and skin most cancers.
He had been detained since final February, when he turned himself in, and charged with 19 counts of human trafficking, then formally charged and arrested in April with 19 counts of human trafficking, seven counts of aggravated defilement, one rely of indecent assault and one rely of working an unauthorized youngsters’s house, often called ‘Bery’s Place.’ He was first arrested in 2013, however the case was dismissed when survivors and their dad and mom didn’t seem in court docket to testify.
“Obviously, Bery’s condition was serious and we feel for his family during this time. But, we also feel saddened for the victims in this case, and there are many,” mentioned Rachel W. Bikhole, Uganda’s Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, who described the proof towards the accused as “overwhelming.”
Bikhole instructed CNN that when a search of ‘Bery’s Place’ was carried out in February 2019, Glaser’s laptop computer was recovered and subjected to examination, throughout which bare movies and images of the victims — some as younger as 5 years previous — have been discovered on it. When questioned, Bikhole mentioned Glaser claimed the fabric was used for fundraising functions.
Investigators additionally discovered e mail and Facebook messages on Glaser’s laptop from him to a key witness within the 2013 case providing her cash to not testify, in accordance with Bikhole. CNN has reached out to his lawyer for response.
“These girls and young women will not see the day that Bery was held accountable for his crimes,” added Bikhole. “They will not get to tell of the terrible sexual abuse they endured for so many years and the lasting impact it has had and will have on them for the rest of their lives.”
Lawyers supporting the prosecution and a police supply instructed CNN earlier this 12 months that Glaser’s trial was postponed as a result of delaying techniques by the protection reminiscent of making use of for a plea cut price deal and requesting a Flemish interpreter regardless of his demonstrated English proficiency. As a end result, he didn’t make a plea earlier than his demise. Glaser’s legal professionals have denied trying to delay proceedings. In a February assertion despatched by WhatsApp to CNN, a lawyer representing Glaser denied that he had dedicated the alleged crimes.
Patricia, one other survivor whose identify has additionally been modified, instructed CNN that she had “never missed a court session,” touring to testify in Kampala and Masaka eight occasions — solely to be instructed repeatedly that the case would once more be adjourned.
“We ended up performing poorly due to the trauma and endless journeys to court, resulting in us missing out on exams,” mentioned Patricia, 20, who says she was abused from the age of 11 and is now at college.
Hope described the previous 12 months as a “very difficult year of abuse and accusations.” After talking out about their experiences, survivors like Hope and Patricia have been victim-blamed and had their testimonies known as into query, together with in some Ugandan media reviews and social media.
Before they’d time to course of the information of Glaser’s demise, Hope mentioned she and different witnesses began to obtain calls and messages with threats and curses, labeling them “murderers.”
The case is ongoing, with 5 cellphone numbers used to threaten to “injure or harm” Mbajja below investigation — together with one registered within the identify of Glaser’s spouse, Ingrid Dilen, in accordance with a preliminary police report see by CNN. Dilen instructed CNN she has not threatened anybody.
Mbajja too has acquired a contemporary barrage of threats following Glaser’s demise, and authorities prosecutor Bikhole additionally instructed CNN she has been “attacked a lot” and acquired threats on social media.
“I want to hide, I want to run, run far away so that no one will ever find me,” wrote Hope. “But is this the right thing? I’m just a witness,” she mentioned, including that even “a simple thing from him just to say sorry to us” would have meant a lot. Hope additionally instructed CNN that she is struggling to assist the opposite survivors, many youthful than her, who she is at present residing with at a shelter.
“I can’t lend them a shoulder to cry because I also need one to cry on,” she wrote.
“We will continue to find ways to help these victims,” mentioned Bikhole. “And we will continue to fight against trafficking in persons in Uganda as there are still many cases and victims that require our attention.”