First charge of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ brought in Uganda – Report

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According to Reuters, a 20-year-old man in Uganda has been charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under the country’s severe new rules, citing prosecutors and the defendant’s lawyer.

This is Uganda’s first such case since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed in May. The death sentence is now imposed under the new statute for “aggravated homosexuality.” It includes same-sex sexual actions with juveniles, disabled people, or the elderly, as well as gay sex that spreads deadly illnesses like HIV/AIDS.

The Act also mandates life in jail for same-sex intercourse and up to 20 years in prison for encouraging same-sex acts.

According to Reuters, the defendant, who is accused of engaging in “unlawful sexual intercourse” with another guy, was charged with aggravated homosexuality on August 18. The charging sheet cited did not explain why the crime was deemed aggravating.

“Because 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,” Jacqueline Okui, spokesman for the director of public prosecutions, was reported as saying by the site.

Okui stated that she was unaware of any other cases involving allegations of aggravated homosexuality.

Justine Balya, the defendant’s lawyer, told the publication that the entire statute is unlawful.

She argued that while the statute has been used to charge four other persons since its inception, her client is the first to be tried for aggravated homosexuality. She refused to discuss any further details of the situation.

While the death penalty is still legal in the East African country, no one has been executed in the last two decades. However, in 2018, President Yoweri Museveni warned that executions could be resumed in order to confront an increase in criminal activity.

Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law has prompted international outrage, causing the United States to impose visa restrictions on officials and the World Bank to block fresh financing for the country.

President Museveni stated earlier this month that the World Bank and its partners were attempting to use sanctions to push his country into relinquishing its ideals and sovereignty.