UK & World News
Uganda's List Of 'Top 200 Gays': Paper Slated
A Ugandan newspaper has named who it says are the country's 200 "top homosexuals" a day after widely criticised anti-gay laws were introduced.
The list, in the Red Pepper tabloid which carried the headline "Exposed!", featured some who have openly declared their sexuality as well as those who had not.
Prominent gay activists, including one who warned the legislation could spark violence against homosexuals, were named alongside a popular Ugandan hip-hop star and a Catholic priest.
The paper said: "In salutation to the new law, today we unleash Uganda's top homos and their sympathisers."
In 2011, prominent Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home after a different newspaper carried photos, names and addresses of people it said were gay in Uganda along with the headline "Hang Them".
"The media witch hunt is back," Jacqueline Kasha, a well-known Ugandan lesbian activist, tweeted.
Ben Byarabaha, Red Pepper's news editor, said they published the full names of only the well-known activists and had tried to use nicknames for those not publicly gay.
Others, such as a retired Anglican cleric who supports gay rights, are listed as sympathisers.
Mr Byarabaha has not given any details about how the full list was compiled.
Those taking part in gay sex face life in prison, under the 'crime' of "aggravated homosexuality" which also includes sex with a minor or while HIV positive.
The bill had originally proposed the death penalty.
The legislation also creates offences of "conspiracy to commit homosexuality" as well as "aiding and abetting homosexuality," both of which are punishable with a seven-year jail term.
Those convicted of "promoting homosexuality" face similar punishment.
The laws - which came just over a month after Nigeria passed a similar measure against gays - have been condemned around the world, although it is widely popular among Ugandans.
President Yoweri Museveni, who signed the bill into law, said it was needed because the West was promoting homosexuality in Africa.
And he rejected international criticism, saying other countries should not interfere in Uganda's internal affairs.
Mr Museveni also accused "arrogant and careless Western groups" of trying to recruit Ugandan children into homosexuality, but he did not name these purported groups.
Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said no homosexuals have been arrested since the president signed the bill but at least two had been taken into custody since politicians passed the bill last December.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday's signing marked "a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights". He also warned Washington could cut aid to the East African government.
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