A 20-year-old man in Uganda may be sentenced to the death penalty on charges of “aggravated homosexuality”.
The man appeared in court on 18 August in the city of Soroti, according to Jacquelyn Okui, spokesperson for the state prosecutors, who spoke with AFP news agency.
A charge sheet alleges that he engaged in intercourse with a 41-year-old man but no further details pertaining to the case were provided therein.
According to Reuters, given that the defendant is charged with a capital offence, he will remain in custody until his case is heard by the High Court.
Speaking to Reuters, the 20-year-old’s lawyer, Justine Balya, claimed that her client was the first person to be prosecuted for this offence following the implementation of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law in May of this year.
This new anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation was originally passed on 21 March, but was then returned to Parliament by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who demanded that it be made even harsher.
Homosexuality and same-sex relations were already illegal in Uganda before the act passed, but the Anti-Homosexuality Act includes stricter levels of punishment and has been referred to as “draconian and discriminatory” by the UN Human Rights Office and condemned by EU lawmakers.
In its current form, the act lists the death penalty as the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” and “promoting” homosexuality carries a 20-year prison sentence.
As per the Anti-Homosexuality Act, instances of homosexual intercourse classed as “aggravated homosexuality” include circumstances where “the offender is a serial offender” or “the offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed”.
Uganda has not carried out an execution for well over a decade, with the last instance taking place in 2005.
#Uganda: We are appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law. It is a recipe for systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people & the wider population. It conflicts with the Constitution and international treaties and requires urgent judicial… pic.twitter.com/cD7Gnwap95
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 29, 2023