A 20-year-old Ugandan man could face the death penalty after he was charged with aggravated homosexuality, which is a capital offence under a controversial law that was passed in May.
It is the first time that such a charge has been reported, though it is not clear if there have been any previous prosecutions.
A court in eastern Uganda charged the man on 18 August, following allegations that he engaged in sexual relations with a 41-year-old man. But it was not clear why it was considered that this fell under the category of “aggravated homosexuality”, the Reuters news agency reports.
According to the law, the “aggravated” category includes having gay sex with someone below the age of 18 or where someone is infected with a life-long illness including HIV.
Justine Balya, the defendant’s lawyer, told Reuters that Uganda has charged four other people under the anti-homosexuality law but her client is the first to be prosecuted under this punitive category.
On 22 August, a Ugandan court charged a former gay rights activist and another man with homosexuality, according to Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper.
Last week, another Ugandan court charged a 26-year-old woman with human trafficking and three counts of homosexuality.
Earlier this month, the World Bank said it was halting new loans to Uganda because the anti-homosexuality law contradicts its core values.