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Uganda detains 16 men under anti-gay law

October 24, 2019

The men were subject to forced anal examinations by police and detained on suspicion of engaging in homosexual acts. Gay sex is punishable by life in prison in Uganda and there are plans to introduce the death penalty.

Symbolbild LGBT Homosexualität Afrika
Image: Reuters/J. Rinaldi

A group of 16 LGBT+ activists have been arrested and subject to forced anal examinations by police in Uganda, according to a rights group on Thursday.

Police confirmed the arrests, saying the men were detained after a "complaint from the public." 

Gay acts and anal sex are illegal in Uganda and can be punishable with life imprisonment.

"Based on the medical examination report, it was established that the suspects were involved in sexual acts punishable under the penal code," police spokesman Patrick Onyango told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The authorities also found lubricants, condoms, and anti-viral drugs while searching a charity located outside the capital, Kampala.

Sexual minorities face daily violence and discrimination in the African country. Earlier this month, activists reported that a gay rights campaigner was bludgeoned to death. The latest arrests mark an escalation by the authorities, said Frank Mugisha of the Sexual Minorities Uganda.

"Normally we will hear of maybe one arrest of someone from the community under these anti-gay laws in one month, but it is really unusual to see 16 people charged like this," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of the Reuters news agency.

Less than two weeks ago, Ugandan lawmakers re-introduced an anti-gay bill that would make the laws even more strict and criminalize the "promotion and recruitment" of homosexuality.

The legal draft has been dubbed "Kill the Gays" bill, as it could allow the death penalty for sexual offenses.

dj/stb (AP, Reuters)

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