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Uganda signs controversial anti-gay bill into law

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Former Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin pictured with the President of Uganda Mr. Yoweri K Museveni at Aras an Uachtarain at the start of the his state visit to Ireland in 2000

Former Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin pictured with the President of Uganda Mr. Yoweri K Museveni at Aras an Uachtarain at the start of the his state visit to Ireland in 2000

Former Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin pictured with the President of Uganda Mr. Yoweri K Museveni at Aras an Uachtarain at the start of the his state visit to Ireland in 2000

Uganda's president has signed a controversial anti-gay bill that has strong penalties for homosexual sex.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill at his official residence in an event witnessed by government officials and journalists.

Government officials clapped after he signed the bill.

The bill calls for first-time offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in jail. It also sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for a category of offences called "aggravated homosexuality", defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults as well as acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV.

The bill is popular in Uganda, but international rights groups have condemned it as draconian in a country where homosexuality is already criminalised.

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