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Ugandan leader to stop death penalty for gays

GAY Ugandans will no longer face the death penalty after the president announced last night that he was against the provision in proposed new laws.

President Yoweri Museveni told colleagues he believed the bill was too harsh and has encouraged his ruling National Resistance Movement Party to overturn the death sentence provision, which would apply to sexually active gays living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape, according to the draft law.

The proposed bill, though, says anyone convicted of a homosexual act -- which includes touching someone of the same sex with the intent of committing a homosexual act -- would face life imprisonment.

Gay-rights activists say the bill promotes hatred and could set back efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in the conservative East African country. Protests have already been held in London, New York and Washington.

London-based gay-rights activist Peter Tatchell said even if the death penalty was removed from the bill, it would still contradict several major international conventions on human rights.

Irish Independent