Ugandan gay death penalty bill back in parliament

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An infamous gay death penalty bill has been reintroduced to the Ugandan parliament today.

David Bahati, the original sponsor of the legislation that would see gays imprisoned for life and executed for repeat offences, has tabled the draft law again, reports say.

Clauses call for the death penalty for “aggravated” or continued homosexuality, while those who fail to report incidences to police would be jailed.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is designed to “protect the traditional family” and also requires Uganda to not ratify any international treaty that would run contrary to its provisions.

It provides for life imprisonment for people who have gay sex, “touch another person with the intention” of having gay sex or have an illegal “gay marriage”.

The bill further requires the death sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality who is living with HIV or who has been convicted of homosexuality before.

Attempted homosexuality carries a seven year prison sentence, as does aiding or abetting acts of homosexuality.

A fine of up to 500,000 shillings (£135) or a prison sentence up to three years are included for people who are aware of any gay offence but do not report it within 24 hours.

The bill received worldwide condemnation from countries, gay rights campaigners and human rights groups.

Last month, the former president of South Africa, Thabo MBeki, criticised the anti-gay bill, saying it “doesn’t make sense” to intervene in people’s private lives.

Mr Mbeki was taking questions at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) in Kampala when he was asked about the draft legislation and specifically what he would say to its sponsor.

Mbeki, who served as deputy President and President of South Africa following the abolition of apartheid, said: “I would say to the MP; sexual preferences are a private matter. I don’t think it is a matter of the state to intervene.”

“I mean what would you want? It doesn’t make sense at all. That is what I would say to the MP. What two consenting adults do is really not the matter of law.”

US President Barack Obama described it as “odious”.