Uganda launches anti-gay crackdown

Uganda has launched a crackdown on homosexuality
Uganda has launched a crackdown on homosexuality

Weeks after announcing plans to make homosexuality punishable by the death penalty, Uganda has launched a crackdown on gay men with a new wave of arrests. 

Sixteen men working at a sexual health clinic were arrested just outside the capital, Kampala on suspicion of gay sex, which is currently punishable in Uganda by a sentence of life imprisonment The Guardian reports. 

Police say they found condoms, lubricants and antiretroviral drugs at the charity, resulting in the men being taken into custody, where the police then conducted invasive medical examinations. 

"Based on the medical examination report, it was established that the suspects were involved in sexual acts punishable under the penal code," said a police spokesman, Patrick Onyango.

Activists said the raid was an escalation in the police's campaign against homosexuals living in Uganda. 

"Normally we will hear of maybe one arrest of someone from the community under these anti-gay laws in one month, but it is really unusual to see 16 people charged like this," said Frank Mugisha, the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda.

"The 16 activists have been held by police for over 48 hours, forced to undergo anal examinations." 

The arrests come as LGBT rights campaigners warn of an escalation in anti-gay sentiment in the African nation, from both the state and the wider community.

In addition to the proposed introduction of the death penalty for homosexuality,I activists say there have been four recent murders of gay men but police have refused to investigate any of them.