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Man faces death penalty under Uganda’s new anti-gay law

Authorities in Uganda have charged a 20-year-old man with “aggravated homosexuality” — an offense punishable by death — under the country’s newly enacted anti-LGBTQ law, prosecutors said.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality law, which was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni earlier this year, imposes life in prison for consensual same-sex sexual acts and up to 10 years for attempted same-sex sexual acts.

It also criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality and imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” — which includes repeat offenses, or intercourse with a minor, an elderly person, people with disabilities or those who are HIV-positive.

The suspect, who hasn’t been identified, was charged after engaging in “unlawful sexual intercourse” with a 41-year-old man, according to the charging document issued by police in the Soroti Central Division.

The document says the offense took place at a sports stadium in the eastern district of Soroti, but didn’t specify what type of sexual act the man was arrested for.

“Since it is a capital offense triable by the High Court, the charge was read out and explained to him in the Magistrate’s Court on [the] 18th and he was remanded,” Jacqueline Okui, spokesperson for the office of the director of public prosecutions, told Reuters.

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The man is believed to be the first person charged under the newly enacted legislation.

The draconian law passed with nearly unanimous support — 387 out of 389 members of parliament voting in favor — in March.

President Museveni sent the bill back to lawmakers with request for changes, and a revised bill was approved with 341 votes. It was signed into law on May 29 — a “desperately dark day for LGBTI rights and for Uganda,” according to Amnesty International’s Flavia Mwangovya.

The law was widely condemned by organizations across the globe. Earlier this month, the World Bank said it would no longer consider any loans to Uganda, as the law “fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values.”

Same-sex relations are legal in only 22 out of 45 countries in Africa, according to data compiled by the nonprofit International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA World.

Earlier this week, police in Nigeria raided an event at a hotel in the southern state of Delta and detained 67 people accused of attending a same-sex wedding.

With News Wire Services

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