Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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The president of Uganda signed a punitive anti-gay bill on Monday that includes the death penalty, enshrining into law an intensifying crackdown against L.G.B.T.Q. people in the conservative East African nation and dismissing widespread calls not to impose one of the world’s most restrictive anti-gay measures.

The law calls for life imprisonment for anyone who engages in gay sex. Anyone who tries to have same-sex relations could be liable for up to a decade in prison.

The law also decrees the death penalty for anyone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality,” a term defined as acts of same-sex relations with children or disabled people, those carried out under threat or while someone is unconscious. The offence of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” carries a sentence of up to 14 years.

The legislation is a major blow to efforts by the United Nations, Western governments, civil society and rights groups that had implored the president, Yoweri Museveni, not to sign it. On Monday, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union all condemned the enactment of the law, saying it undermined equality and the right of all Ugandans to live free from discrimination and persecution.

President Biden called the law “a tragic violation of universal human rights” and said his administration would “evaluate the implications of this law on all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda.”

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