Queer Ugandans beaten with iron rods, burned with firewood and forced to confess to being gay after ‘bogus’ shelter raid

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11/29/2020

LGBT+ Ugandans arrested under dubious coronavirus charges have revealed the harrowing levels of abuse they faced while in prison – being beaten with iron rods, burnt with firewood and forced to “confess” their identities. In interviews with The Guardian newspaper, two of the approximately 20 people arrested earlier this year at an LGBT+ shelter described how seemingly government-sponsored homophobia has been veiled by measures purported to curb the coronavirus. Indeed in Uganda, the fight for LGBT+ rights means fighting for survival, they said. In March, police pounced on the shelter, where a municipal mayor caned the group before security agents chained and marched them to a police station. “They tied us like slaves and marched us through a trading centre full of homophobic people,” explained Ronald Sssenyonga, a 21-year-old student. “Some people slapped us. Others hit us with stones or whatever they could find. They shouted and condemned us.”

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