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US couple faces death penalty in Uganda – media

Nicholas and Mackenzie Spencer allegedly tortured and trafficked a foster child who lived with them in the East African nation

A Ugandan court on Wednesday charged an American couple with aggravated child trafficking, an offense carrying the death penalty, Reuters reports. The two were detained earlier this month and accused of torturing the child, who they fostered in their home in Kampala.

According to court documents seen by the news agency, Nicholas Spencer and Mackenzie Leigh Mathias Spencer recruited, transported, and kept the child through “abuse of position of vulnerability for purposes of exploitation.” Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesman Patrick Onyango told the Associated Press that the couple used the boy to solicit money from donors.

The Spencers were not allowed to enter a plea, as the case must now be heard at the High Court. They were kept in custody, and no date for a hearing has been set.

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The couple were arrested earlier this month and charged with the “aggravated torture” of a 10-year-old boy in their care. After moving to Uganda in 2017, they fostered three children, and allegedly kept the boy naked and barefoot during the day, forcing him to sleep on a bare wooden platform in a room monitored by security cameras, local media reported.

A worker at the couple’s home tipped off police, and all three children have since been taken into care.

A lawyer for the pair called the case a “fishing expedition” by the authorities, and said that there was no evidence of their guilt, according to Reuters. The new charge “doesn’t make sense,” she added.

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The US Embassy in Kampala has not commented on the case, but said that it is monitoring the situation.

December 22, 2022 at 07:33PM
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