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Man could face death penalty over alleged 'aggravated homosexuality'

A man is the first in Uganda to be charged with alleged "aggravated homosexuality", and could face the death penalty if convicted.

The offence was introduced in May as part of the country's new anti-gay laws, some of the harshest in the world targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

Police said the suspect is a 20-year-old "peasant" from the eastern district of Soroti.

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He was charged on 18 August with having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 41-year-old man, according to court papers.

Aggravated homosexuality is defined as cases of same-sex sexual relations involving a minor and other categories of vulnerable people, or when the perpetrator is infected with HIV.

The charging document does not clarify the aggravating factor in the case. It says the offence took place at a sports stadium in Soroti, but provides no other details.

Same-sex intercourse could also lead to a life sentence under the rules brought in earlier this year, which have been widely criticised by Western governments and rights organisations.

Earlier this month, the World Bank said it would not consider making any new loans to the country because of the law.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni accused the bank of using money to "coerce us into abandoning our faith, culture, principles and sovereignty."

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A group of UN experts called the laws "an egregious violation of human rights," while Amnesty International has called it "draconian and overly broad".

Anyone convicted of attempted aggravated homosexuality can be imprisoned for up to 14 years under the law.

The legislation did not outlaw anyone identifying as LGBT, which had been a key concern for activists who campaigned against an earlier version of the reforms.

Homosexuality is against the law in more than 30 of Africa's 54 countries.

In Nigeria, one of the countries where it is banned, police said they had arrested at least 67 people celebrating a gay wedding in one of the largest mass detentions targeting homosexuality.