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Ugandan Tabloid Names Gays After Anti-Gay Measure Becomes Law

A man reads a copy of <em>Red Pepper</em> on Tuesday in Kampala, Uganda.
Stephen Wandera
A man reads a copy of Red Pepper on Tuesday in Kampala, Uganda.

This post was updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

We told you Monday about Uganda's president signing a controversial bill that makes gay sex punishable by terms of up to life in prison. Well, a day later, a Ugandan tabloid has published a list of what it calls the country's "top" 200 homosexuals.

Red Pepper published its list under the headline " Exposed!" and names some people who'd previously not come out as gay.

NPR's Gregory Warner, who reported on the story for our Newscast unit, says:

"The list includes prominent gay activists in Uganda as well as people who have not identified themselves publicly as gay, including a Ugandan hip-hop star and a Catholic priest. An accompanying article heaped praised on Uganda's new Anti-Homosexuality Bill signed yesterday by the president. The bill doesn't only criminalize gay sex, which was already illegal in Uganda, but it makes it a crime not to report gay people, to do activism around LGBT issues, including HIV counseling."

The Associated Press is also reporting on the story, and notes that "the tabloid's publication of alleged homosexuals recalled a similar list published in 2011 by a now-defunct tabloid that called for the execution of gays," and added:

"A Ugandan judge later condemned the [2011] outing of homosexuals in a country where gays face severe discrimination, saying it amounted to an invasion of privacy. A prominent Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was killed after that list came out, and activists said at the time that they believed he was targeted because of his work promoting gay rights in Uganda."

In signing the bill Monday, President Yoweri Museveni accused Western groups of "coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality and lesbianism."

The new law is widely popular in Uganda, and is expected to boost Museveni ahead of presidential elections. A similar bill was signed into law in Nigeria last month. According to the human rights group Amnesty International, 38 of Africa's more than 50 nations have anti-gay laws on the books.

The U.S., United Nations and European Union have all criticized the Ugandan law, with several European countries saying they were suspending assistance to Uganda. The Wall Street Journal reports:

"An official at the Norwegian embassy in Kampala said that the measure would immediately affect at least $8 million in aid to Uganda's legal system. Norway extends more than $64 million to Uganda every year. The bulk of western aid has been going directly to the Ugandan government, which would then earmark it for spending in different departments—notably, health, education and the military."

Museveni has said his country doesn't need aid.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.