Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill: Death Penalty for ‘Aggravated Homosexuality’
October 26, 2009
(ChattahBox)— The Ugandan government is waging a war on homosexual citizens in its country, with the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009 introduced before Parliament last week. The bill signals a return to the brutal regime of Idi Amin in the war-torn country, which would throw citizens in prison for life, for merely touching another person in a gay way and put them to death if convicted of a crime called “aggravated homosexuality.”
The bill also makes it mandatory for parents, teachers, landlords and others to report any instances of homosexuality to the police or face fines and imprisonment.
A group of Ugandan civil rights leaders have denounced the Anti-Homosexuality Act, as barbaric and unconstitutional, which tramples basic human rights of not just gays, but of every, man, woman and child in the country.
The group opposing the bill notes that it would return the struggling country to the dark oppressive days of Ida Amin:
“In short, this bill targets everybody, and involves everybody: it cannot be implemented without making every citizen spy on his or her neighbors. The last time this was done was in the Amin era, where everyone very quickly became an ‘enemy of the state.”‘
The provisions of the anti-homosexuality bill would:
* Reaffirm the lifetime sentence currently provided upon conviction of homosexuality, and extends the definition from sexual activity to merely “touch[ing] another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”
* Create a new category of “aggravated homosexuality” which provides for the death penalty for “repeat offenders” and for cases where the individual is HIV-positive.
* Criminalizes all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
* Criminalizes the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
* Adds a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
* Adds an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
The coalition group opposing the bill also denounces the attempt of the government to punish homosexual behavior that takes place outside its borders by Ugandan citizens. Grouping homosexuality with such political offenses, as treason and terrorism:
“The bill also asserts Extra Territorial jurisdiction. In other words, all of the offences covered by the bill can be applied to a Ugandan citizen or permanent resident who allegedly commits them outside the country. Thus homosexuality and/or its ‘promotion’ are added to the very short list of offences which fall in the ‘political offences’ category. It joins treason, misprision of treason, and terrorism as offences subject to extra-territorial jurisdiction. Clearly, this is out of all proportion in relation to the gravity of the act.”
The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009 is currently being considered before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament.