'Hang them': Uganda paper publishes photos of gays

In the days since it was published, at least four gay Ugandans on the list have been attacked and many others are in hiding, according to rights activist Julian Onziema. One person named in the story had stones thrown at his house by neighbours.

A lawmaker in this conservative African country introduced a bill a year ago that would have imposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts and life in prison for others. An international uproar ensued, and the bill was quietly shelved.

But gays in Uganda say they have faced a year of harassment and attacks since the bill's introduction.

The legislation was drawn up following a visit by leaders of US conservative Christian ministries that promote therapy they say allows gays to become heterosexual.
"Before the introduction of the bill in parliament most people did not mind about our activities. But since then, we are harassed by many people who hate homosexuality," said Patrick Ndede, 27.

"The publicity the bill got made many people come to know about us and they started mistreating us."

More than 20 homosexuals have been attacked over the last year in Uganda, and an additional 17 have been arrested and are in prison, said Frank Mugisha, the chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda. Those numbers are up from the same period two years ago, when about 10 homosexuals were attacked, he said.

The bill became political poison after the international condemnation. Many Christian leaders have denounced it, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signalled to legislators that they should not take it up.

Four members of parliament contacted by The Associated Press for this article declined to comment, and instead referred queries to David Bahati, the parliamentarian who introduced the bill. Bahati did not answer repeated calls today.

Homophobia is rife in many African countries. Homosexuality is punishable by death or imprisonment in Nigeria. In South Africa, the only African nation to recognise gay marriage, gangs carry out so-called "corrective" rapes on lesbians.

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