Gay Issues

Uganda's Gay Witch-Hunt: Tabloid Lists '200 Top Homos' After Anti-Gay Law Signed

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Ugandan tabloid published the names of 200 "top" homosexuals after President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay law Monday that makes certain consensual homosexual acts punishable with prison time.

Under the headline “Exposed,” the tabloid, Red Pepper, appears to be launching a witch-hunt in Uganda, where gay acts are already illegal.

The new law bans promotion of homosexuality and specifies the illegality of lesbianism, too. Anyone convicted of “attempt to commit homosexuality” or “aiding and abetting homosexuality” will now face a penalty of seven years in prison. Even a person who “keeps a house, room, set of rooms, or place of any kind for purposes of homosexuality” will face seven years in prison.

“President Museveni has dealt a dramatic blow to freedom of expression and association in Uganda by signing the Anti-Homosexuality bill,” said Maria Burnett, a senior Africa researcher with the Human Rights Watch. “Attacking basic rights and criminalizing the expression of divergent views doesn’t bode well for anyone. This is yet another troubling sign of disregard for fundamental human rights in Uganda.”

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High profile gay rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema and Ugandan lesbian activist Jacqueline Kasha both appear on the Red Pepper list.

#AHBUganda: The media witch hunt is back. 200 Top Homos exposed in redpepper pic.twitter.com/sbofQxvSyM

— Kasha Jacqueline (@KashaJacqueline) February 25, 2014

The Netherlands stopped a $9.6 million subsidy to Uganda's judicial system over the new law.

Sweden threatened to withdraw $10.8 million in direct aid after the bill was signed Monday. Norway and Denmark plan to collectively transfer $17 million in aid to non-governmental organizations.

Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Reuters that Museveni signed the law "to demonstrate Uganda's independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation."

Sources: BBC News, ABC News