Two men have been charged with engaging in ‘sex acts against the order of nature’ under the new Ugandan gay legislation.
The couple, Mukasa Jackson and Mukisa Kim, were arrested in January after being chased by a mob and have been detained since then. Today, the couple appeared before a magistrate in Kampala to appeal for bail.
According to the couple’s lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, prosecutors have lined up witnesses to testify against the men, who have been charged with engaging in “sex acts against nature”.
This is the first trial under Ugandan gay legislation passed last February by President Yoweri Museveni which imposes severe penalties for homosexuality, including mandatory life imprisonment.
Yesterday, gay rights activists demonstrated as Ugandan President Museveni arrived for the UK-Uganda Business Forum at Lancaster House in London.
The protesters said the UK government’s support for the conference calls into question its commitment to tackling rising homophobia in Uganda and across Africa.
Godwyns Onwuchekwa, Coordinator of Justice for Gay Africans, said: “The claim that homophobia is a Ugandan value is spin used by Museveni’s government to cover up for its failure to provide basic amenities for ordinary Ugandans. LGBT Ugandans should be treated equally to all other Ugandans.”
Some western countries have since withheld or cut aid to Uganda in protest, urging the country’s legislators to repeal the law.
Ugandan government officials have described western pressure over the bill as blackmail.
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