Kaleidoscope’s Deputy Executive Director, Harjeet Johal, is in Uganda to witness the proceedings. He said: “It is clear to me that people here expect this pernicious piece of legislation to be passed. The fear on the faces of the brave men and women who have stood up publicly against this threat to their rights and freedoms is painful to behold. I feel like a shackled spectator to an awful tragedy. But while we can condemn this evil bill from the safety of our own countries, the LGBTI community here cannot escape its consequences.”
Johal will also be present on the first day of the trial of David Cecil, the British theatre producer charged with staging a play with a gay storyline without permission. Mr. Cecil faces up to two years in jail if convicted. The play, ‘The River and the Mountain’ was performed in two theatres in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, earlier this year. Mr. Cecil said the play was “not politically motivated” and neither promoted homosexuality nor criticized the government.
A committee of Ugandan MPs has endorsed the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill but dropped the death penalty provision, an MP has told the BBC.
MP Medard Segona said "substantial amendments" had been made to the bill but said he was not allowed to reveal further details. Mr Segona, who is on the Legal and Parliamentary committee of Uganda's parliament, told the BBC: "I can confirm it has been dropped."
The bill, tabled by MP David Bahati, proposes longer jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances.
In its original form, those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender" - faced the death penalty. Such offences would now be punished with life imprisonment, it is understood.