World leaders, including President Joe Biden, have condemned Uganda for its prosecution of 4 people for engaging in what they’re calling, “aggravated homosexuality” meaning that any act can be punishable by death.
Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023
In a groundbreaking legal move, Ugandan prosecutors charge a 20-year-old man with “aggravated homosexuality,” marking a significant moment in the country’s controversial stance on LGBTQ+ rights.
The charged offense carries a death penalty under Uganda’s contentious “Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023,” igniting huge backlash from world leaders.
“Unlawful Sexual Intercourse”
On August 18th, the defendant faced charges for allegedly engaging in “unlawful sexual intercourse” with a 41-year-old man, shedding light on the sweeping implications of the law.
Details regarding what constituted the aggravation in the alleged crime remain unclear, leaving many questions unanswered.
President Yoweri Museveni’s enactment of the “Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023” criminalized same-sex sexual acts, attracting international scrutiny and condemnation.
The law sets forth penalties, including death, for acts deemed “aggravated homosexuality,” encompassing all instances of sexual activity with the same sex.
The law’s reach extended to gay marriage, punishable by life imprisonment for individuals who engage in same-sex marriages.
With the charge classified as a capital offense, the defendant’s trial commenced with reading the charges in the Magistrate’s Court, marking the beginning of a complex and high-profile legal journey.
Crimilized Even With Consent
The defendant’s lawyer, Justine Balya, argued against the constitutionality of the law, “It seeks to criminalize what is often consensual conduct between adults,” she said.
Ugandan politician Asuman Basalirwa described “aggravated homosexuality” as “when you carry out acts of homosexuality through force or duress, or due influence, then the law defines that as aggravated homosexuality.”
While three others have also been charged under the new law, the defendant in this case becomes the first to face prosecution for an offense carrying the ultimate punishment.
“Tragic Violation of Universal Human Rights”
Of the United Nations’ 193 member countries, 64 still criminalize same-sex acts, many of whom have hit out at Uganda for its backward laws, including President Biden.
President Joe Biden condemned Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, labeling it a “tragic violation of universal human rights” before calling for its “immediate repeal.”
Jeopardizing Economic Growth
Biden’s statement urged the law to change, arguing that it “jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country.”
Biden followed by saying that the people of Uganda shouldn’t have to “live in constant fear of… violence and discrimination.”
The prosecution marked a turning point in Uganda’s LGBTQ+ rights debate, with the future looking bleak for gay people in the country.
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