Two men in Uganda are currently facing distinct charges of “aggravated homosexuality.” This might see them as the first casualties of the recently passed anti-gay law.
This is a grave offence that has drawn international attention due to its association with the country’s recent and contentious anti-gay legislation.
-First young male-
The first case involves a 20-year-old man from the Soroti district in eastern Uganda.
On August 18, he was charged with engaging in what authorities deem “unlawful sexual intercourse” with a 41-year-old disabled man.
However, according to CNN, this was collaborated by the spokesperson for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Jacqueline Okui.
“Aggravated homosexuality,” as outlined in the globally criticized legislation, encompasses various acts.
Now such acts include incestuous relations, sexual activities involving minors, as well as individuals with disabilities or the elderly.
This anti-gay law, which was enacted in May, extends its prohibitions beyond the realm of private sexual practices.
-Limits of punishment
In addition, the law also forbids gay marriages within the country and imposes severe penalties for same-sex acts with a possible punishment of life imprisonment.
Although Uganda has not carried out an execution for decades. However, President Yoweri Museveni, who has held office for an extended period, indicated a willingness to reinstate capital punishment in 2018.
Representing the 20-year-old defendant, attorney Justine Balya expressed her belief that the penalties outlined in the legislation are disproportionate and constitutionally questionable.
Inevitably, she emphasized that the application of this law is problematic.
This is because it essentially criminalizes consensual interactions among adults.
Balya noted that cases like this one might undergo prolonged trial delays. Inevitably this will lead to extended periods of pre-trial remand for the accused.
Nonetheless, Balya’s legal representation extends to numerous individuals who have been apprehended.
Coincidentally, they have been apprehended for comparatively lesser offences under the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
-The second young male-
The second case involves a man from Jinja district in eastern Uganda, who was charged with “aggravated homosexuality” last month. His alleged offence involved a sexual act with a same-sex 12-year-old child.
Despite the age of one of them, both are currently in custody. The two are slated to appear in court during the coming month of September.
This legal pursuit underscores the ongoing tension surrounding LGBTQ+ rights in Uganda.
In brief, the law invited significant international scrutiny despite the law receiving a national innovation.