1st Uganda 'gay sex' trial since tough new law

2014-05-08 13:22
(Ben Curtis, AP)

(Ben Curtis, AP)

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Kampala - Ugandan court has begun hearing the case against two men accused of engaging in gay sex – the first trial of homosexuals in the country since a severe law was passed in February.

The detained Ugandan couple, Kim Mukisa, 24, and Jackson Mukasa, 19, appeared before a magistrate's court in the capital, Kampala, on Wednesday to apply for bail after prosecutors said they had enough evidence to proceed with the case.

Police arrested the couple in January as they fled an angry mob, according to the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, a local watchdog group.

Prosecutors have lined up several witnesses to testify against the two, who have been charged with engaging in sex acts "against the order of nature", said their lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi.

Although Uganda has had anti-gay legislation since the colonial era, President Yoweri Museveni enacted a law in February that increased criminal penalties against gay sex to life in jail.

Gay leaders report that scores of Ugandan homosexuals have since gone underground or fled the country. The law has been widely criticised in the west as draconian and unnecessary.

In signing the bill, Museveni claimed he wanted to deter western groups from promoting homosexuality in Uganda. Some western countries have since withheld or cut aid to the country in protest, urging legislators to repeal the law.

Ugandan government officials have described western pressure over the bill as blackmail.
- AP
Read more on:    yoweri museveni  |  uganda  |  gay rights  |  east africa
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