Ugandan police accused of abusing lockdown laws after LGBT arrests

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04/01/2020

Police in Uganda have charged 20 LGBT people with disobeying rules on physical distancing and risking the spread of coronavirus, in what campaigners say is a clear case of authorities in parts of Africa abusing newly imposed restrictions to target sexual minorities. Fourteen gay men, two bisexual men and four transgender women were taken into custody on Sunday when police raided a shelter on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. A police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, said the detainees had been disobeying distancing rules by “congesting in a school-like dormitory setting within a small house” despite a ban at the time on gatherings of more than 10 people, since reduced to five. Onyango denied allegations made by LGBT campaigners that they were targeted because of their sexual orientation. “We still have offences of unnatural sex in our law books,” Onyango told Reuters. “We would charge them with that law, but we are charging them with those counts, as you can see.”

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