Ugandan MP David Bahati now claims the death penalty provision has been removed from the extreme Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Ugandan LGBT activists and international human rights advocates dispute Bahati’s claim.
Our latest news analysis for EBONY: "Death Penalty Provision Remains in Uganda’s Anti-Gay Legislation" I interviewed leading LGBT activist Frank Mugisha and other gay Ugandans over the weekend.
HIV/AIDS advocates are concerned that passage of the bill would "lead to even more HIV infections … among men who have sex with men." The nation’s adult HIV prevalence rate is 6.5 percent, one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, according to AVERT and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The draconian bill was originally proposed by MP David Bahati, a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement. Bahati now claims the death penalty provision has been removed. “There is no death penalty,"Bahati told the Associated Press on Friday, which added that “the most recent version of the bill hasn't been publicly released.”
Ugandan LGBT activists and international human rights advocates dispute Bahati’s claim.
"There has not been any official confirmation the death penalty has been removed," Frank Mugisha told EBONY.com from Kampala. Mugisha is the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the sole LGBT rights organization in the nation. He was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in November 2011—the first time an LGBT rights activist has been honored by the prestigious award.
"We have not seen any official document saying the death penalty has been removed," added Mugisha. "As far as I know, this is the same bill that was first introduced in 2009."
Read our analysis HERE.