Uganda Tabloid Prints Names of 200 Homosexuals
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.
The 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 as well as a Catholic priest are also on the list.
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. The law also calls for first-time offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in jail.