Two Ugandan men are expected to defend themselves in court after being charged for homosexuality.
A 24 year old businessman, Kim Mikusa, was charged with “having sexual knowledge of a person against the order of nature” after prosecutors confirmed Wednesday that they have gained enough evidence against him and Jackson Makusa, who is 19 years old.
Mikusa and Makusa have been charged under the Anti-Homosexuality Act which imposes life sentences for “homosexual acts”. They will be the first to go on trial for homosexuality since the controversial anti-gay law was signed by Uganda president, Yoweri Museveni, last February. The two are expected to defend themselves on their trial which is scheduled to start on May 7.
The anti-homosexuality act, formerly known to international press as “Kill the Gay Bill” (due to proposed death penalty sanctions), was first introduced by the MP, David Bahati, as the anti-gay bill and was proposed by the Parliament of Uganda on December 2013. It proposes that first time offenders will receive 14 years of imprisonment with the possibility of a life sentence. The bill has become a law after it was recently signed by president Museveni.
The passing of the bill led several organizations to suspend aid to Uganda, with multiple nations denouncing the “inhumane” anti-homosexuality law. US representatives described the law’s passing as a tragic day for Uganda. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that the engagement of US to Uganda will be reviewed including their budget aid to the African nation.
Despite warnings to Kampala from Washington, the Uganda president insisted on signing the bill into law. Museveni, who once described homosexuality as “disgusting”, cited “scientific” sources as one of the reasons he enacted the bill, claiming that he tasked top Uganda scientists to study whether homosexuality is a learned behavior and concluded that it is indeed a matter of choice.
Elaborating on the “study”, Museveni said:
“They’re disgusting. What sort of people are they?”
“I never knew what they were doing. I’ve been told recently that what they do is terrible. Disgusting. But I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that that’s how he is born, abnormal. But now the proof is not there.”
Uganda‘s anti-gay law requires every citizen to condemn to the authorities anyone suspected of being a gay and suppress the promotion of homosexuality. And as for those who will go against the law, first time offenders will get 14 years in jail and penalty of life imprisonment for acts of “aggravated homosexuality”.
[Image from Africa Renewal via Flickr]