Ugandan Court invalidates homosexuality law

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A Ugandan court on August 1st annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in February. Activists erupted in loud cheers after the court ruled the law is now “null and void.”

Ugandan lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, an attorney for the activists, said the ruling “upholds the rule of law and constitutionalism in Uganda.”

The anti-homosexuality law punished gay sex with long jail sentences. Homosexual acts were already illegal in Uganda, but the new law also banned the promotion of homosexuality and covered lesbians for the first time. Ugandans opposed to the law filed a constitutional petition alleging that the law violated fundamental rights.

“I can confirm the anti-homosexuality law has been struck down. The judge said there were irregularities in the process of its enactment and also there was no quorum in parliament,” said Nicholas Opio, a lawyer for the petitioners.

The panel of five judges at the Constitutional Court said the speaker of parliament acted illegally in December when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections over lack of a quorum.

Although the legislation has wide support in Uganda, it has been condemned in the West and rights groups have described it as draconian. Several donors cut aid to Uganda after the law was adopted.

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