Journalism in the service of society

UGANDA: President Museveni passes anti-gay law including death penalty

Uganda’s president has signed into law tough new anti-gay legislation supported by many in this East African country but widely condemned by rights activists and others abroad.

The version of the bill signed by President Yoweri Museveni doesn’t criminalize those who identify as LGBTQ, a key concern for campaigners who condemned an earlier draft of the legislation as an egregious attack on human rights.

But the new law still prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.

A suspect convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” can be imprisoned for up to 14 years, according to the legislation.

Parliamentary Speaker Anita Among said in a statement that the president had “answered the cries of our people” in signing the bill.

“With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country,” the statement said.

Museveni had returned the bill to the national assembly in April, asking for changes that would differentiate between identifying as LGBTQ and actually engaging in homosexual acts. That angered some lawmakers, including some who feared the president would proceed to veto the bill amid international pressure. Lawmakers passed an amended version of the bill earlier in May.

Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda under a colonial-era law criminalizing sexual activity “against the order of nature.” The punishment for that offense is life imprisonment.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times