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Uganda anti-gay tabloid publishes list of '200 top homosexuals'

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The day after President Yoweri Museveni signed the tough anti-gay bill, a popular Ugandan tabloid published a list of the country's “200 top homosexuals”, including in it many people that have never identified themselves as gay.

Under the high impact “Exposed!” headline, 200 people were supposedly 'named and shamed' on the front page of the Red Pepper, a tabloid obviously welcoming the exacerbation of the already harsh measures against LGTB people in their country. Indeed, it is worth remembering that the anti-gay bill, which obtained presidential approval on Monday, is only making a bad situation worse: homosexuality had already been criminalised in Uganda, a country where plain homophobia is promoted as a political tool, regardless its heavy, and bloody, social impact.

In 2011 a similar list was published by another tabloid, now long defunct, which openly called for the execution of gay people. At the time, capital penalty was being discussed the highest possible punishment for the horrendous crime of same sex love, option that only slightly did not make it in the current anti-gay law, which calls for life imprisonment instead.

Thing is that the vehement article, on top of the highly radicalised situation, sparked a row of homophobic violence which sadly culminated in the assassination of prominent Ugandan gay activist David Kato. Later on, a Ugandan judge condemned the list as invasion of privacy. Now is happening all over again.

The list published this morning by the Red Pepper included prominent Ugandan gay activists, amongst them Pepe Julian Onziema, but also a popular Ugandan hip-hop star and even a Catholic priest. It is difficult not to see how names, photos and personal details of highly vulnerable people are being fed to the masses as an incentive to violence.

Rejecting international criticism of the anti-gay law as interference in internal affairs, President Museveni said that extreme measures are needed as the west is promoting homosexuality in Uganda and the rest of Africa. However, he did not offer more details on the issue.

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