Ugandan activists have confirmed the government has not removed the death penalty from the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill.
On 23 November, Uganda Member of Parliament Medard Segona told the BBC ‘substantial amendments’ had been made, suggesting the maximum penalty for homosexuality would ‘only’ be life imprisonment.
However a source at the American embassy in Uganda said the law has just gone through a consultation committee that cannot make changes to the law.
Kasha Jacqueline, Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), said Uganda lawmakers still intend to punish gay people with death.
‘The only version of the bill that is public today still includes the death penalty provision for “aggravated homosexuality”’ AllOut.org reports she said.
‘We know that the bill still refers to death, contrary to what the media is saying.’
Jacqueline said support from around the world is necessary, and said Uganda lawmakers are attempting to delay international intervention and criticism.
She reminded them when the bill was first introduced in January 2012, global pressure helped to stall the bill.
‘Ugandan lawmakers need to know the world is still watching now,’ she said.
Andre Banks, Executive Director of AllOut, said: ‘Until the Ugandan parliament makes the current bill public, we must assume the bill contains the death penalty for gays.’
Ugandan speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who promised the population she would pass the bill as a ‘Christmas present’, has suspended House sessions after debate over oil resources get unruly.
The law, as it stands, will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.
‘Aggravated homosexuality’ is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.
The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment.
According to a 2010 survey by The Pew Research Center, homosexuality is morally unacceptable to 89% of Ugandans.