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Uganda: Death penalty still part of anti-gay bill

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Uganda: Death penalty still part of anti-gay bill

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A coalition of human rights groups says it has obtained a copy of Uganda's anti-gay bill, to be tabled shortly, saying it is clear that none of the provisions in the 2009 version of MP David Bahati's measure have been changed.

"It is still the 'Kill the Gays' Bill," the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law says in a Nov 29 release. It notes that the committee on legal and parliamentary affairs' report on the bill has yet to be released.

The coalition, with a membership of 51 Ugandan civil society organizations (including human rights, feminist, HIV focused, queer, media and refugee groups), says the anti-homosexuality bill has been upgraded to item number one on Parliament's Order of Business to Follow, which means it could be tabled imminently.

The group is calling on allies locally and globally to advocate, "in all ways possible," to condemn efforts to pass the bill.

Despite widespread reports that the bill no longer contains the death penalty for so-called "aggravated homosexuality," Ugandan activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera is quoted as saying that the Ugandan government still intends to keep the death penalty provision, contrary to what the media is saying.

"The only version of the bill that is public today still includes the death penalty provision for 'aggravated homosexuality,'" allout.org quotes Nabagesera as saying.

"Until the Ugandan parliament makes the current bill public, we must assume the bill contains the death penalty for gays," AllOut executive director Andre Banks says.

Nabagesera says that support from around the world is necessary and that Uganda lawmakers are attempting to delay international intervention and criticism, Gay Star News reports.

Ugandan parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who promised to pass the anti-gay bill as "a Christmas gift" to the population, suspended House sittings Nov 28 after debate over an oil bill became chaotic.

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