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Ugandan Lawmakers OK Life Sentence for Gays

It's also a crime not to report homosexuals
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2013 9:11 AM CST
Ugandan Lawmakers OK Life Sentence for Gays
Briton Bernard Randall is seen in court, Nov. 18, 2013. Randall has been charged with trafficking in obscene publications, after photos of him having gay sex appeared after the theft of his laptop.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Vassie)

(Newser) – Ugandan lawmakers today overwhelmingly approved what would be one of the harshest anti-gay laws in the world. Homosexual acts were already illegal in Uganda, but now anyone caught committing this crime twice will be imprisoned for life, the AFP reports. The first draft of the law called for the death penalty in such cases, but it was shelved for years amidst international outrage.

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The bill also makes not reporting homosexuals a crime you could go to jail for, the BBC reports. It essentially outlaws gay rights groups as well, making it illegal to promote homosexuality. (Though many groups were already specifically banned.) The bill passed despite opposition from the prime minister, who said not enough lawmakers were present. "This is a victory for Uganda," the lawmaker behind the bill said. "I am glad the parliament has voted against evil." Activists are naturally despairing. "I am officially illegal," one said following the vote. The bill still needs to be signed by President Yoweri Museveni. (Read more gay rights stories.)

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