A man in Uganda has been charged with “aggravated homosexuality,” a grave accusation that carries the potential for capital punishment under the country’s newly introduced anti-gay legislation. This law, considered one of the harshest of its kind globally, encompasses provisions that categorise “aggravated homosexuality” as a crime punishable by death, with consensual same-sex relations carrying penalties of up to life imprisonment as reported by African Insider.
The individual in question, a 20-year-old, was charged on August 18 and is accused of engaging in “unlawful sexual intercourse with… (a) male adult aged 41.” The charge sheet explicitly cites the “Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023” and refers to the offence as “aggravated homosexuality.”
Jacquelyn Okui, spokesperson for Uganda’s directorate of public prosecutions, confirmed that the suspect is currently in prison, awaiting court proceedings for the mentioned case. However, it remains uncertain whether this marks the first instance of someone being charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under the new law.
This controversial legislation, enacted in May, has drawn widespread condemnation from various quarters, including the United Nations, foreign governments like the United States, and international human rights organisations. Even the World Bank halted new loans to Uganda in response, stating that the law contradicts the values upheld by the institution.
The law’s introduction prompted a strong response from US President Joe Biden, who called for its immediate repeal, branding it a violation of universal human rights. He even threatened to reduce aid and investments in Uganda. However, the Ugandan government has remained steadfast, and the legislation enjoys significant support within the conservative, predominantly Christian country, with lawmakers defending it as a means to safeguard traditional values against perceived Western influences.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has accused the World Bank of attempting to manipulate the government through financial incentives to abandon the contentious law.
Reports from human rights organisations have highlighted the law’s detrimental impact, with documented arrests and cases involving individuals suspected of violating the legislation. This includes arresting four people, including two women, at a massage parlour for alleged same-sex activity. The enforcement of this law raises concerns about human rights violations, the suppression of personal freedoms, and the dire consequences faced by individuals targeted by these regulations.
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