Kampala, August 30: Two men in Uganda are accused of “aggravated homosexuality,” a crime that carries a death sentence under the country’s contentious new anti-gay laws, CNN reported. In the Soroti area of eastern Uganda, a 20-year-old man was charged on August 18 after he allegedly “performed unlawful sexual intercourse with one [man] aged 41 with a disability,” according to Jacqueline Okui, a spokesman for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
According to the widely criticised law, “aggravated homosexuality” includes incest, sex with children, as well as persons who are disabled or elderly. In addition to prohibiting homosexual marriage in Uganda, the law that was brought into effect in May also imposes a life sentence for same-sex offences. Uganda Signs Anti-LGBTQ Bill into Law.
The 20-year-old man’s attorney, Justine Balya, told CNN that the law’s penalties were totally out of proportion. “Of course, the fact that the law is being enforced in this way is entirely unconstitutional because it seeks to criminalize what is often consensual conduct between adults,” she said.
She also said that trials in cases of this nature could take a very long time to complete, and she anticipates her client will spend a significant amount of time in pre-trial remand. According to Balya, they are representing a number of individuals detained for less serious violations of the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Anti-LGBTQ Law: World Bank Says No New Funding to Uganda Over Anti-Gay Law.
Since the law was passed in May, two people have been charged with the capital offence in Uganda, including the man who was apprehended in Soroti. In Jinja district in eastern Uganda, another man was charged with “aggravated homosexuality” last month for allegedly engaging in “a sexual act with a child aged 12 of the same sex,” according to Okui.
They are both being held on remand and will show up in court in September, as reported by CNN. Museveni finally gave his approval to the bill in May after a period of ambiguity during which it was briefly sent back to parliament for reconsideration. Legislators, Ugandan Christian and Muslim leaders, and some social media users all strongly favour the bill.
However, this choice has provoked widespread criticism, fueled anxieties in the LGBTQ+ community, and sparked legal disputes. The bill, according to US President Joe Biden, is “a tragic violation of universal human rights,” and he also ordered a study of US funding and investment in Uganda.
The US also announced visa restrictions for Ugandan government personnel but did not name those affected. Following the anti-gay legislation, the World Bank earlier this month declared it would not accept any loan requests from Uganda.
Days before the World Bank’s resolution, the UN announced that its human rights office in Uganda would close after nearly 20 years of existence, citing a decision by local authorities to “terminate the mandate” of the UN rights authority.
In response to criticism of the anti-gay bill, Museveni accused the World Bank of attempting to force his nation “into abandoning our faith, culture, principles, and sovereignty, using financial pressure.” After the decision, Museveni announced, “Uganda will develop with or without loans,” CNN reported.