A young man is facing life in prison if convicted under the country’s new law
A 20-year-old man in Uganda has been charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under strict new laws in that country, Reuters reported on Monday, citing prosecutors and the defendant’s lawyer.
This is the first such prosecution in Uganda since its Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed in May. The new law imposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” It includes same-sex sexual acts with minors, with disabled persons or the elderly, as well as gay sex that transmits terminal illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.
The legislation also prescribes life in prison for same-sex intercourse and a prison sentence of up to 20 years for promoting same-sex acts.
According to Reuters, the defendant, who is alleged to have engaged in “unlawful sexual intercourse” with another man, was charged on August 18 with aggravated homosexuality. The charge sheet quoted failed to clarify why the act was considered aggravated.
“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,” the outlet quoted Jacqueline Okui, spokesperson for the office of the director of public prosecutions, as saying.
Okui said she had no knowledge of any prior cases involving charges of aggravated homosexuality.
The defendant’s lawyer, Justine Balya, told the outlet that the entire law is unconstitutional.
She claimed that four other people have been charged under the law since its introduction, but her client is the first to be prosecuted for aggravated homosexuality. She declined to speak on any further specifics of the case.
While capital punishment is still legal in the East African country, no one has been executed there in about two decades. However, in 2018, President Yoweri Museveni warned of the possibility of resuming executions in order to combat a surge in criminal activity.
Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law has sparked widespread condemnation, prompting the US to impose visa restrictions on officials and the World Bank to halt new funding for the country.
President Museveni said earlier this month that the World Bank and its allies were attempting to coerce his country into abandoning its principles and sovereignty through sanctions.
August 28, 2023 at 11:39PM