Updated: Confusion over Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill

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Update: 17.30 GMT.

Associated Press reports that officials have indicated that the bill will now be debated on Friday in an extra session.

Reports this afternoon suggest that Uganda has dropped the notorious anti-homosexuality bill.

According to Associated Press, the bill has been dropped from today’s order paper. It was due to be debated at the end of the day.

However, US experts who have been following the legislation say it was briefly removed from order papers but is now back on the schedule and is tabled for a second and third reading today.

Jim Burroway, of Box Turtle Bulletin, questioned whether the new schedule was posted on the parliament website after the Associated Press’ report went out.

Today is parliament’s last scheduled day of this session. If the bill is not approved, it is not clear what will happen to it. Its author, David Bahati MP, may tabled a new bill in the next session, or a special session may be held to debate the legislation.

Mr Bahati has suggested that he may remove the bill’s most controversial clause, which demands the death penalty for “aggravated” homosexuality. However, an amended version has not been published.

In its current form, the bill prescribes the death penalty for “aggravated” homosexuality, such as repeat offences. Among other things, it also calls for up to three years in prison for teachers, doctors, friends, landlords and family members of gay people who do not report them to authorities.

More than 1.4 million people have signed petitions against the bill, which provoked worldwide condemnation.