Uganda police arrest six men for having sex as horrific new anti-gay bill inches closer to reality

Ugandan LGBTQ+ people lead a protest in London.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is yet to be passed, but the country is already cracking down on its LGBTQ+ community, with police arresting six men accused of having gay sex.

The men, aged between 20 and 26, were detained by police after a 17-second video of them engaging in sexual activities was seen on social media.

The men appeared at court in the southern city of Jinja on Tuesday (18 April), where judge Yafesi Ochieng denied them bail, claiming they were being detained in custody for their own safety.

“It is our mandate as the court to protect the accused persons. Releasing them to a biased society cannot guarantee their safety, so prison is their safe place,’’ Ochieng said.

The men were charged with indecency and their case will be heard on 10 May.

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni standing at a lecturn
Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni. (Getty)

According to The Monitor, the police claim they found the men with 192 sachets of lubricants in their pockets, and clothing with the rainbow flag.

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The prosecution said the men were part of a network grooming young boys to commit sodomy, and claimed they “were recording pornographic and sex videos and streaming live sessions, which they submitted to donors for funding”.

The arrests come after the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was passed by Ugandan lawmakers last month.

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This bill would make it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+, and anyone found guilty could have to serve long jail sentences.

The legislation would also create a crime of “aggravated homosexuality” which cites rape, child sexual abuse and incest. Anyone found guilty would face the death penalty.

The final decision on the bill lies with president Yoweri Museveni who has the power to sign the bill into legislation or veto it.

It was submitted to the president on Thursday (20 April) but Museveni sent it back to parliament to make it even tougher on Uganda’s LGBTQ+ community.

The government’s chief whip, Denis Hamson Obua, said President Museveni had agreed to sign the bill but it needed amendments to “facilitate the reinforcement and the strengthening of some provisions in line with our best practices”.

A meeting will be held on 25 April with members of parliament to make changes to the bill.

Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, has a long history of homophobia. Shortly after the bill passed, he declared that Africa needs to “save the world” from homosexuality.

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