Ugandan Man Charged with “Aggravated Homosexuality” Under New Law

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KAMPALA — A man in Uganda has been charged with “aggravated homosexuality,” a potentially capital offence under the country’s controversial anti-gay legislation introduced earlier this year. The law, considered one of the strictest of its kind globally, includes provisions that criminalize “aggravated homosexuality,” punishable by death, and imposes penalties of up to life imprisonment for consensual same-sex relations.

The 20-year-old suspect was charged on August 18 in Soroti, located in eastern Uganda. He is accused of engaging in “unlawful sexual intercourse with… a male adult aged 41,” according to the charge sheet. The charge specifically references the “Aggravated Homosexuality Act 2023.”

Jacquelyn Okui, spokeswoman for Uganda’s directorate of public prosecutions, stated that she was unsure if this was the first instance of someone being charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under the new law.

The law, signed in May, has faced widespread condemnation from international entities, including the United Nations, foreign governments such as the United States, and global human rights organizations. The World Bank recently suspended new loans to Uganda, citing the law’s contradiction of the values the institution espouses.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has accused the World Bank of attempting to use money as leverage to coerce the government into abandoning the contentious legislation.

While the law has faced international criticism, it enjoys significant support within Uganda, a predominantly Christian and conservative nation. Many Ugandan lawmakers view the law as a necessary measure to protect against what they perceive as Western immorality.

The Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum documented 17 arrests in June and July after the adoption of the law. Earlier this month, police arrested four individuals, including two women, on allegations of engaging in same-sex activity based on a tip-off at a massage parlour in the district of Buikwe.

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