The trial of a gay man and a transgender woman is scheduled for Sept. 22 in a Ugandan courtroom in a case that threatens them with the potential of life imprisonment for sexual activity “against the order of nature.”
The defendants are not accused of violating the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014, which was in effect from its signing in February until the Constitutional Court overturned it on procedural grounds on Aug. 1.
They are charged under an older law, Uganda’s Penal Code, in which Section 145 provides for a life sentence for consensual same-sex relations.
When proceedings against gay businessman Kim Mukisa, 24, and Jackson Mukasa, 19, a transgender woman, began in May, the trial was described by the LGBT advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) as the first in the recent history of Section 145.
All previous cases under Section 145 had either been dismissed for want of prosecution or remained pending, SMUG said. That changed last year during discussions and eventual passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, when officials again began prosecuting homosexuality-related cases.
The advocacy group Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda (HRAPF) has provided lawyers for several LGBT defendants, including Mukisa and Mukasa.
Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court last considered the case against Mukisa and Mukasa on Aug. 27.
In a previous session, the state prosecutor had asked for an adjournment to produce witnesses, HRAPF reported. The defense lawyer then asked court that it should be the last adjournment for the prosecution and she prayed for the matter to be dismissed.
On Aug. 27, the state prosecutor was not in court because her child was sick. HRAPF said that the magistrate could not render a judgment in the absence of the state prosecutor so the case was adjourned to Sept. 22.
Mukisa came to the attention of police on Jan. 27 when he was attacked by a mob. HRAPF rescued Mukisa from the mob, but he was then arrested by the police. Mukasa was arrested the next day.
During court proceedings, the defense team will challenge the constitutionality of the Penal Code provisions, “if strategically appropriate,” SMUG has said.
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- Persecution of Uganda’s Gays Intensifies as Rights Groups Go Underground (ipsnews.net)
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