Uganda raids gay rights workshop

2012-02-15 07:53
Kampala - A Ugandan minister on Tuesday raided and shut down a workshop run by homosexual rights activists in Entebbe, Amnesty International reported, days after a draconian anti-gay bill was reintroduced.

The London-based rights watchdog said in a statement that Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo, also a priest, raided the workshop flanked by police and expelled its participants from the Entebbe hotel where it was being held.

"This is an outrageous attempt to prevent lawful and peaceful activities of human rights defenders in Uganda," Amnesty International said.

Ugandan police spokesperson Asuman Mugenyi said: "Gay activities are illegal activities under our law and our law has not been amended."

Homosexuality is already punishable by life imprisonment in Uganda but a recently reintroduced bill proposes to toughen the law, notably by criminalising acts aiding or abetting homosexuality.

The bill, which enjoys wide support in the east African country's parliament, initially envisioned making certain homosexual acts punishable by death.

But the bill's author, MP David Bahati, said last week after an international outcry that he wanted to drop the death sentence clauses.

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