UGANDA: 16 LGBT Activists Arrested, Subjected To Forced Anal Exams, Face Up To Life Sentence [VIDEO]

Reuters reports:

A group of 16 LGBT activists have been arrested and subject to forced anal examinations by police in Uganda, according to a rights group on Thursday. Police confirmed the arrests, saying the men were detained after a “complaint from the public.”

Gay acts and anal sex are illegal in Uganda and can be punishable with life imprisonment. “Based on the medical examination report, it was established that the suspects were involved in sexual acts punishable under the penal code,” police spokesman Patrick Onyango told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Newsweek reports:

According to Human Rights Watch, seven countries in Africa and the Middle East still use forced anal exams. These countries include Cameroon, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Zambia and Uganda.

The International Forensic Expert Group, an organization that runs more than 160 torture rehabilitation centers in over 70 countries, describes the forced anal examinations as “a form of sexual assault and rape.”

NBC News reports:

On Thursday afternoon, Let’s Walk Uganda, shared a message on Facebook saying all 16 men had been released. The men, however, were charged with “trafficking in persons” and “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” before being released on bond, according to Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum.

Activists say attacks against LGBTQ people are increasing amid efforts by Uganda’s ethics minister to introduce a bill that would punish gay sex with death. The government spokesman denies such a plan exists.

Around 85% of Ugandans are Christian. The government official likely behind these arrests is a former Catholic priest.