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Uganda tabloid prints list of ‘top’ homosexuals

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Stephen Wandera, APA Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Uganda Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country's "200 top" homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay, one day after the president Yoweri Museveni enacted a harsh anti-gay law.

Stephen Wandera, AP
A Ugandan reads a copy of the “Red Pepper” tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Uganda Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. The Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country’s “200 top” homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay, one day after the president Yoweri Museveni enacted a harsh anti-gay law.

Updated: 10:30 a.m. EST

KAMPALA, Uganda — A Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country’s “200 top” homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday’s signing of the bill by President Yoweri Museveni marked “a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights” and warned that Washington could cut aid to the government of the East African nation.

“Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” Kerry said in a statement.

red--pepper-tabloidThe Red Pepper tabloid published the names — and some pictures — of alleged homosexuals in a front-page story under the headline: “EXPOSED!”

The list included prominent Ugandan gay activists such as Pepe Julian Onziema, who has repeatedly warned that Uganda’s new anti-gay law could spark violence against homosexuals. A popular Ugandan hip-hop star and a Catholic priest are also on the list.

Ben Byarabaha, news editor of the Red Pepper, 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 sympathizers. Byarabaha offered no details about how the full list was compiled.

Few Ugandans identify themselves publicly as gay, and the tabloid’s publication of alleged homosexuals recalled a similar list published in 2011 by a now-defunct tabloid that called for the execution of gays. A Ugandan judge later condemned the outing of homosexuals in a country where gays face severe discrimination, saying it amounted to an invasion of privacy. A prominent Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was killed after that list came out, and activists said at the time that they believed he was targeted because of his work promoting gay rights in Uganda.

“The media witch hunt is back,” tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a well-known Ugandan lesbian activist who is among those listed in the Red Pepper story.

Uganda’s new-anti-gay law punishes gay sex with up to life in jail. The bill originally proposed the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults and acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV. First-time offenders also face life in jail, contrary to an earlier version of the bill that mentioned a 14-year jail term.

The new law also creates the offenses 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.

In signing the bill, Museveni said the measure is needed because the West is promoting homosexuality in Africa, rejecting international criticism of the law as interference in Uganda’s internal affairs. Museveni accused “arrogant and careless Western groups” of trying to recruit Ugandan children into homosexuality, but he did not name these purported groups.

Ugandan police spokesman Patrick Onyango said on Tuesday that no homosexuals have been arrested since Museveni signed the bill but that at least two had been taken into custody since lawmakers passed the bill last December.

Onziema, the gay activist, said he had counted up to six arrests and said that more than a dozen Ugandan homosexuals had fled the country since December over safety concerns.

Homosexuality has long been criminalized in Uganda under a colonial-era law that outlawed sex acts “against the order of nature.”

Some Ugandan lawyers and activists have said they will challenge the law in court as unconstitutional and impossible to implement.

Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer who runs a rights watchdog group called Chapter Four, predicted Tuesday that the new law would make life worse for Ugandan gays.

“The enactment of the anti-homosexuality bill has only emboldened the … population in their rejection of anybody perceived to be gay or even friendly to gays,” he said. “These things are going to continue. They are going to get more frequent.”

The Ugandan law — which came just over a month after Nigeria passed a similar measure against gays — has been condemned around the world, although it is widely popular among Ugandans.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that the law would institutionalize discrimination and could encourage harassment and violence against gays.

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57 more reader comments:

  1. Stop AID!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:58pm
  2. And so we revert back to the times of the Nazis.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:59pm
  3. WTF?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:00pm
  4. It is already starting. A few European countries did already Colin Mickelo. Also the Netherlands is giving more asylum to lbgt people from Uganda

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:00pm
  5. Its a hit list!! This is horrible!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:01pm
  6. This makes me feel ill…We are seriously going backwards! This is completely insane!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:01pm
  7. I know a few top homosexuals! And also a few who are tops!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:01pm
  8. Nazis

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:01pm
  9. OMG…it’s a fucking witch hunt.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:01pm
  10. I so wish I could afford to airlift all those precious human beings out of that obvious war zone.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:02pm
  11. Omg! These people have just been marked for death.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:02pm
  12. Damn

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:02pm
  13. Absolutely insane!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:02pm
  14. Insanity….

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:03pm
  15. Wow.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:03pm
  16. Crazziii :/

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:04pm
  17. This tears my heart into pieces :’(

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:05pm
  18. Horrifying

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:05pm
  19. Complete absurdity.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:06pm
  20. oh so the bill will be used to lock up his rivils huh?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:07pm
  21. Not one more penny will I give to these countries through buying their ex-ports or in charity

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:07pm
  22. Wtf!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:07pm
  23. Horrific

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:07pm
  24. Who owns the paper?…?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:07pm
  25. Just awful. I’m glad they’re losing aid. And the US will eventually stop giving them any money. Let them starve.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:07pm
  26. I hope the hell I made the list! Bring it on bitch!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:09pm
  27. That’s criminal in itself, what about the right to privacy ! This is utterly insane, and cruel !

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:10pm
  28. I think our reaction to this is hypocritical.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:10pm
  29. If they focused on eradicating AIDS and providing clean water, maybe they could crawl their way out of being a third world country. But noooo, let’s focus on barbaric things like attacking people for who they love…. that’ll solve alllll their problems.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:11pm
  30. sad and depressing

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:13pm
  31. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:14pm
  32. We need to place an embargo on this country and boycott asap!!! Savages!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:15pm
  33. It is not , I am from Australia where we still have no Marriage Equality, but all inequality , when people are treated as criminal, and sent to jail for being themselves , should be stood up against !

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:15pm
  34. This country is wading thru some troubled waters…..and the crocs of justice will be there to eat this up, I hope.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:16pm
  35. Immediate debilitating restrictions. ..hit them where it hurts…Their wallets.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:17pm
  36. Omg

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:19pm
  37. omg

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:22pm
  38. Does that mean foreigners who are gay will be prosecuted as well?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:23pm
  39. Chilling

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:23pm
  40. This is not cool!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:27pm
  41. oh NO!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:31pm
  42. So Uganda is now going through their witch hunt era?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:33pm
  43. Too think Christians want these same laws

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:36pm
  44. Disgusting ppl seemingly obsessed with gays and gay sex

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:36pm
  45. So evil

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:36pm
  46. This is so Sad……. “They don’t know what they do”

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:37pm
  47. Uneducated dirty shit hole

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:39pm
  48. As a gay man this does upset me but how can I be outraged at someone from another country. How are place like Uganda and Russia susposed to change….WHEN IN THE US GAYS DONT HAVE RIGHTS REALLY……in most states we still can’t get married and a whole list of other things….until U.S. Palestinian equal rights EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL none of these other countries will even consider it. MY MAMA FRICKE TAUGHT ME…….UNTIL YOUR HOUSE IS IN ORDER YOU CANT HELP ANOTHER HOUSE OR EXPECT THAT HOUSE TO FOLLOW SUIT…….. MEANING……IF U.S. WANTS THESE COUNTRIES TO CHANGE THEIR LAWS AND OUTLOOKS WE HAVE TO CHANGE OURS 100%.
    Now with that said gays in America have it 1000 times better than anywhere else………

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:42pm
  49. Witch Hunt !!! Fuck Uganda !!! I hope their poltical leaders get Ebola !!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:43pm
  50. Idi Amin Dada is alive and well.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:44pm
  51. If they provided a list of the top himophobic places, Uganda would be number one.
    Such a shame they would do this.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:45pm
  52. Stop giving them Aid and get the Gay People out of Uganda NOW Amnesty International

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:49pm
  53. Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:49pm
  54. Horrible savages. ..

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:50pm
  55. disgusting

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:52pm
  56. Horrible

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:54pm
  57. While this is horrific, there are terrible things allowed here.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:56pm