Ugandan Man Faces Death Penalty Under Harsh Anti-Gay Law

The White House has called for a repeal of the law that prompted the World Bank to suspend lending to the East African country.

A second man in Uganda was charged with “aggravated homosexuality” and faces the death penalty under what human rights groups and Western countries say is one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world.

CNN reports that the man, 20, was charged Aug. 18 in the district of Sorti for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 41-year-old disabled man. The law defines aggravated homosexuality as involving incest, sex with children, people with disabilities or the elderly.

In a separate case, a different male suspect was charged in July with aggravated homosexuality in Jinja district for allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old boy (the age of consent in Uganda is 18). Both men are on remand in prison and are slated for court appearances in September. Expressions of same-sex intimacy in Uganda are punishable by life imprisonment.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law on May 26. Museveni had reportedly asked the legislature, which unanimously passed the initial version of the bill that included the death penalty, for an amendment to offer amnesty for those who renounce homosexuality.

Ugandan President Refuses To Sign Anti-LGBTQ Bill Without ‘Rehabilitation’ Amendment

Human Rights Watch opposed the law, saying that it violates fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s constitutions, as well as Uganda’s signed commitments to uphold international human rights agreements.

“Museveni’s signing of the anti-homosexuality bill is a serious blow to multiple fundamental rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and association, privacy, equality, and nondiscrimination,” the organization stated. “The Ugandan government is obligated to guarantee these rights for all people, including sexual minorities.”

The White House also condemned the law: “I join with people around the world—including many in Uganda—in calling for its immediate repeal. No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or being subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong.”

Uganda also faces economic consequences. The World Bank announced on Aug. 8 that it would halt new lending to the government because of its anti-homosexual law, Reuters reported.

"Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group's values,” the World Bank said. “We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality."

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