Ugandan court to issue verdict in petition against tough anti-gay law

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda’s constitutional court is due on Wednesday to deliver a verdict on a petition seeking to annul the country’s tough Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), a lawyer for the petitioners said on Tuesday.

The ruling could underscore a growing anti-gay crackdown across Africa, including in Ghana where legislators also passed an anti-gay law in February. It also could have economic implications for the continent’s largest exporter of coffee beans.

Passage of the Ugandan legislation in May last year triggered sanctions including from the World Bank and U.S.

The World Bank halted new lending to the country while the U.S. announced visa and travel cautions.

Under the AHA law same-sex acts and related activities attract various punishments including death for the offence of aggravated homosexuality while gay sex attracts life sentence.

The ruling is expected at 10:00 am (0700 GMT), one of the lawyers for the petitioners Nicholas Opiyo wrote on the social media platform X.

Once the verdict is announced, a dissatisfied party can appeal to the Supreme Court.

The law drew widespread condemnation from the West and local human rights activists.

Petitioners against the law include a lawmaker and Frank Mugisha, Uganda’s most prominent LGBTQ activist. They asked judges to strike AHA down, citing reasons including that it violates their constitutional rights.

Mugisha has previously said widespread anti-homosexuality sentiment in Uganda was driven by ultra conservative groups in Uganda and the West.

“I am hoping they (judges) do the right thing and annul the law fully in its entirety,” Mugisha told Reuters.

“But my fear is that the anti-gay groups did a lot of propaganda before the law was introduced and so that might sway the judges.”

(Editing by Hereward Holland and David Gregorio)


Close Bitnami banner