by Saurav Sarkar
A Ugandan law passed in March that makes some same-sex relations punishable by death has its second captive. A 20-year-old man who had sex with a 41-year-old man has been charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under the law, reported National Public Radio (NPR). Because the 41-year-old man is disabled, authorities were able to reach for the death penalty rather than solely imprison the 20-year-old.
“The Ugandan government lays to rest the view that its outrageous new law allowing the death penalty for same-sex conduct was just for show. It has now charged a young man under it, who now faces possible execution for being himself,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of the nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Since the law passed in March, at least five people in total have been charged under it, according to the 20-year-old man’s lawyer Justine Balya, who spoke to Reuters. But her client is just the second to be charged under the “aggravated homosexuality” provisions, which makes HIV+ people who have sex, people who have sex with disabled people, and people who commit statutory rape subject to the death penalty. According to HRW, the law also criminalizes the “promotion of homosexuality,” carrying a sentence of up to 20 years, and lengthens the sentence for attempts at same-sex relations to 10 years.
According to Efemia Chela, an editor and researcher at the leftist organization Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, contemporary anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in Africa was built off similar laws put in place by colonizing countries. More recently, say researchers like Political Research Associates and the website openDemocracy, the influence of extremist Christian groups in the United States on Ugandan LGBTQ+ policy is visible through tens of millions in funding.
Author Bio: Saurav Sarkar is a freelance writer and editor who covers political activism and labor movements. They live in Long Island, New York, and have also lived in New York City, New Delhi, London, and Washington, D.C. Follow them on Twitter @sauravthewriter and at sauravsarkar.com.
Credit Line: from the Globetrotter News Service