Uganda Court Fines US Couple for Child Torture After Guilty Plea

American couple Nicholas Spencer and his wife, Mackenzie Leigh Mathias Spencer, sit in the courtroom during the verdict where they are charged with torturing a ten-year-old John Kayima and state prosecutor objected to their application saying that the two have been illegally in Uganda after their work permits expired, at the High court in Kampala, Uganda, October 31, 2023. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | A US couple accused of torturing their 10-year-old foster son faced reduced charges and were ordered to pay $29,000 in fines and compensation by a Ugandan court on Tuesday.

Nicholas and Mackenzie Spencer, initially charged with “aggravated trafficking” and “aggravated torture,” pleaded guilty to lesser charges, including cruel treatment, working illegally, and unlawful stay in Uganda.

The court in Kampala imposed fines totaling approximately 9.3 million Ugandan shillings ($2,460) and ordered them to compensate the victim with 100 million Ugandan shillings after the prosecution dropped the earlier charges in a plea bargain.

The boy, who attended a special needs school, was fostered by the couple and subjected to alleged inhumane treatment, as revealed in CCTV evidence seized during a police raid on their home in December.

Child rights activists expressed outrage over the verdict, calling it a “mockery of justice.”

The Spencers had arrived in Uganda in 2017 to volunteer with a US-based nonprofit before moving to Kampala, sparking controversy surrounding international adoptions in the country. In 2020, the US government filed charges and imposed sanctions against a US-based adoption ring involved in placing Ugandan children, who were not orphans, with American families.

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Busiinge Aggrey
Busiinge Aggrey
Business Aggrey" is a 23-year-old Ugandan journalist and Editor-in-Chief at The Black Examiner newspaper