Jinja, Uganda | URN | Six youths who were arrested for their alleged involvement in acts of gross indecency have been remanded to Kirinya Prison after appearing before the Grade One Magistrate’s Court in Jinja.
The accused youths, who are aged between 20 and 26 include; Geoffrey Ibanda Sadic Wassajja, Sadat Menya alias Sheebah, Fabian Kalungi, Hamza Katamba and Brian Kiiza alias Chosen. They were arrested a week ago by the Police in Jinja on grounds that they were part of a sexual network that was grooming young boys into acts of sodomy and recruiting male adults into gay practices.
Police said the suspects were arrested from Mpumudde zone from where they had been recording pornographic and sex videos and streaming live sessions, which they submitted to donors for funding. They were allegedly found with 192 Sackets of Lubricants, shirts and stags with LGBTQ logos, a metallic banner of peace and comfort with the LGBTQ flag.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and asked the court to grant them bail on grounds that it is a constitutional right to which they are entitled. Grade One Magistrate Yafesi Ochieng tasked them to present two sureties each, which they adhered to.
But the Magistrate reversed his decision on grounds that the State Attorney was not present in court yet such processes cannot be completed without her representation. Ochieng further advised them to reapply for bail on their next court appearance on April 17.
Philip Mutebi, an activist with Human Rights and Economic Empowerment (HURID), an organization which is offering legal aid services to the accused persons said that they are working to secure a production warrant before the return date.
Mutebi added that HURID advocates for the rights of all disadvantaged groups in communities, whose means of accessing justice are deliberately frustrated by either duty bearers or circumstances around them and they only stepped in this matter after the accused persons’ parents approached them for legal aid.
Early this week, Parliament approved stringent penalties for persons involved in promoting homosexuality as part of a new law tabled by Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa. The law sets a death penalty for the offence of aggravated homosexuality, where a victim is a child below 14 or a person above 75 years, a person with a disability or suffers a disability as a result of the sexual act, and those with mental illness.
The offence also applies where the offender is a parent, guardian or relative of the victim, the victim contracts a terminal illness as a result of the sexual act, the offender is a serial wrongdoer, an offender is a person in authority over the victim, the offence was committed against a person by means of threats, force, fear of bodily harm, duress, undue influence and others.
Those convicted of attempted aggravated homosexuality will face 14 years once convicted, the offence of homosexuality will attract 20 years in prison, attempted homosexuality 10 years, recruiting, displaying and distribution of material for same-sex sexual acts 20 years, allowing the use of premises for homosexuality 10 years and other penalties.