Ugandan authorities arrested four individuals on Saturday for allegedly engaging in same-sex activities, three months after the introduction of the country’s draconian anti-LGBTQ law.
Police said two men and two women between the ages of 20 and 27 were arrested at a massage parlor in the district of Buikwe, roughly 35 miles east of Kampala, the Ugandan capital.
“The police operation was carried out following a tip-off by a female informant to the area security that acts of homosexuality were being carried out at the massage parlor,” Hellen Butoto, a spokeswoman for the national police force, told the French international television station France 24.
There is no information on the condition of the arrested individuals, how long they will be held, or when they will be tried for violating the law.
The controversial law — which has been widely condemned by the international community — was signed into effect in May by President Yoweri Museveni.
It mandates fines, incarceration, and even, in some cases, execution, for LGBTQ individuals accused of “promoting” or engaging in “acts of homosexuality.”
Queer Ugandan human rights activist Arthur Kayima branded the legislation as “vile.”
“Rather than focusing on the real issues Uganda is facing, Museveni distracts [us] by attacking our fundamental right to exist,” Kayima said, reported PinkNews.
U.S. President Biden has previously called the law “a tragic violation of universal human rights,” and called for its immediate repeal while suggesting the possibility of sanctions.
The United Nations has condemned the law. Recently, the World Bank suspended funding for new projects in the country, saying the law “fundamentally contradicts” its values.
The future for LGBTQ Ugandans is unclear. With foreign pressure against the law, and internal pressure from people within the fiercely religious nation urging the government to defend the law, LGBTQ Ugandans have become the scapegoat for the geopolitical proxy war.
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