A 20-year-old has become the first Ugandan to be charged with “aggravated homosexuality”, an offense punishable by death under the country’s recently passed anti-homosexuality law, prosecutors and the court have said. defendant’s lawyer.
Defying pressure from Western governments and human rights organizations, Uganda enacted one of the world’s toughest laws against the LGBT community in May. This law provides for life imprisonment for sexual relations between persons of the same sex. The death penalty can be applied in “aggravated” cases, which concern repeat offenders, or apply in the case of homosexual relations transmitting a fatal disease or homosexual relations with a minor, an elderly person or a disabled person.
According to an indictment seen by Reuters, the defendant was charged on August 18 with aggravated homosexuality after having “unlawful sexual intercourse” with a 41-year-old man. The act does not specify why the act is considered aggravated.
“Given that this is a crime punishable by the High Court of Justice, the charge was read and explained to the accused on August 18, who was remanded in custody,” Jacqueline Okui said. , spokesperson for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Jacqueline Okui did not provide additional details about the case. She added that to her knowledge no one else had been charged with aggravated homosexuality in the country. Justine Balya, the defendant’s lawyer, said she believed the law as a whole was unconstitutional.
The law has been challenged in court, but judges have yet to take up the case. According to Justine Balya, four other people have been charged since the enactment of the law, but her client is the first to be prosecuted for aggravated homosexuality. She declined to comment on the details of the case.