Thu, Oct 21, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Uganda paper publishes names, pictures of gays


The front-page newspaper story featured a list of Uganda’s 100 “top” homosexuals, with a bright yellow banner across it that read: “Hang Them.” Alongside their photos were the men’s names and addresses.

In the days since it was published, at least four gay Ugandans on the list have been attacked and many others are in hiding, rights activist Julian Onziema said. One person named in the story had stones thrown at his house by neighbors.

A lawmaker in this conservative African country introduced a bill a year ago that would have imposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts and life in prison for others. An international uproar ensued, and the bill was quietly shelved.

However, gays in Uganda say they have faced a year of harassment and attacks since the bill’s introduction.


The legislation was drawn up following a visit by leaders of US conservative Christian ministries that promote therapy they say allows gays to become heterosexual.

“Before the introduction of the bill in parliament, most people did not mind about our activities. But since then, we are harassed by many people who hate homosexuality,” said Patrick Ndede, 27.

“The publicity the bill got made many people come to know about us and they started mistreating us,” Neade said.

More than 20 homosexuals have been attacked over the last year in Uganda, and an additional 17 have been arrested and are in prison, Sexual Minorities Uganda chairman Frank Mugisha said.

Those numbers are up from the same period two years ago, when about 10 homosexuals were attacked, he said.

The Oct. 9 article in a Ugandan newspaper called Rolling Stone — not the US magazine — came out five days before the one-year anniversary of the controversial legislation. The article claimed that an unknown but deadly disease was attacking homosexuals in Uganda and said that gays were recruiting 1 million children by raiding schools, a common smear used in Uganda.

After the newspaper hit the streets, the government Media Council ordered the newspaper to cease publishing — not because of the newspaper’s content, but rather that the newspaper had not registered with the government.

After it completes the paperwork, Rolling Stone will be free to publish again, Media Council secretary Paul Mukasa said.

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