Uganda newspaper publishes list of ‘200 top’ homosexuals after anti-gay law signed

KAMPALA, UGANDA—A Ugandan newspaper published a list Tuesday of what it called the country’s “200 top” homosexuals, outing some Ugandans who previously had not identified themselves as gay one day after the president enacted a harsh anti-gay law.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday’s signing of the bill by President Yoweri Museveni marked “a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights” and warned that Washington could cut aid to the government of the East African nation.

“Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” Kerry said in a statement.

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The list included prominent Ugandan gay activists such as Pepe Julian Onziema, who has repeatedly warned that Uganda’s new anti-gay law could spark violence against homosexuals. A popular Ugandan hip-hop star and a Catholic priest are also on the list.

Ben Byarabaha, news editor of the Red Pepper, said they published the full names of only the well-known activists and had tried to use nicknames for those not publicly gay. Others, such as a retired Anglican cleric who supports gay rights, are listed as sympathizers. Byarabaha offered no details about how the full list was compiled.

Few Ugandans identify themselves publicly as gay, and 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. A Ugandan judge later condemned the 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.

“The media witch hunt is back,” tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a well-known Ugandan lesbian activist who is among those listed in the Red Pepper story.

Uganda’s new-anti-gay law punishes gay sex with up to life in jail. The bill originally proposed the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults and acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV. First-time offenders also face life in jail, contrary to an earlier version of the bill that mentioned a 14-year jail term.

The new law also creates the offences of “conspiracy to commit homosexuality” as well as “aiding and abetting homosexuality,” both of which are punishable with a seven-year jail term. Those convicted of “promoting homosexuality” face similar punishment.

In signing the bill, Museveni said the measure is needed because the West is promoting homosexuality in Africa, rejecting international criticism of the law as interference in Uganda’s internal affairs. Museveni accused “arrogant and careless Western groups” of trying to recruit Ugandan children into homosexuality, but he did not name these purported groups.

Ugandan police spokesman Patrick Onyango said on Tuesday that no homosexuals have been arrested since Museveni signed the bill but that at least two had been taken into custody since lawmakers passed the bill last December.

Onziema, the gay activist, said he had counted up to six arrests and said that more than a dozen Ugandan homosexuals had fled the country since December over safety concerns.

Homosexuality has long been criminalized in Uganda under a colonial-era law that outlawed sex acts “against the order of nature.”

Some Ugandan lawyers and activists have said they will challenge the law in court as unconstitutional and impossible to implement.

Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer who runs a rights watchdog group called Chapter Four, predicted Tuesday that the new law would make life worse for Ugandan gays.

“The enactment of the anti-homosexuality bill has only emboldened the … population in their rejection of anybody perceived to be gay or even friendly to gays,” he said. “These things are going to continue. They are going to get more frequent.”

The Ugandan law — which came just over a month after Nigeria passed a similar measure against gays — has been condemned around the world, although it is widely popular among Ugandans.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that the law would institutionalize discrimination and could encourage harassment and violence against gays.

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Kochi: ‘Ripper’ Jayanandan’s death penalty converted to life sentence without parole

Mahir Haneef | TNN |

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday converted the death sentence awarded to ‘Ripper’ Jayanandan in Puthenvelikkara murder case to a life sentence without parole.

KP Jayanandan of Mala is already serving a life sentence without parole for murdering 85-year-old Elikutty of Perumbavoor.

A death sentence was ordered by Ernakulam sessions court by considering the murder of 51-year-old Baby alias Devaki and attack on her husband Balakrishnan on in October 2006 as a rarest of rare case. Devaki’s hands were cut off by Jayanandan to rob her bangles.

During interrogation by police, Jayanandan had confessed to having committed seven murders while carrying out over 30 burglaries. Jayanandan had also told police that he killed Devaki and poured kerosene at the place and left after leaving the cooking gas on.

Arguing for imposing the maximum punishment on Jayanandan, prosecution had pointed out that he was involved in several murder cases.

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Death sentence imposed by the trial court on Jayanandan for Perinjanam double murder was also commuted to life imprisonment by the high court earlier. The court considered his appeal in the case over murder of Kalapurackal Sahadevan and his wife Nirmala in October 2004.

Jayanandan’s first major offence was burgling the residence of 45-year-old Jose in Mala police station limits in September 2003. During the robbery, he allegedly struck Jose, who was sleeping, with a crowbar and killed him and took off with Rs.17,000 and a video cassette player.

His second burglary was in March 2004, in which he forced his way into a house in Mala police station limits itself, allegedly killing 51-year-old Nabeesa who woke up hearing the noise and came out. Upon entering the house, he killed two more women, 23-year-old Fousiya and 28-year-old Noorjahan, and two children.

In his third burglary in October 2004, Jayanandan killed Sahadevan and his wife Nirmala at Perinjanam in Mathilakam police station limits, robbing gold ornaments weighing 11 sovereigns.

His next attack was at a house in Kodungallur police station limits in Kozhikode, in which he allegedly attacked Aravindaksha Panicker and wife Omana Panicker and cause grievous injuries to both, and robbed gold ornaments weighing 18 sovereigns.

In May 2005, Jayanandan entered the house of Elikutty of Vadakkekkara and when she woke up while robbery was in progress, he had allegedly struck her on her head with an iron rod and caused her death.

Jayanandan’s next target was an outlet of Kerala State Beverages Corporation at North Paravoor in August 2005. When the security guard Subhashakan challenged him, Jayanandan allegedly struck him on the head with an iron rod, killing him.

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Suspects arrested: Police term PU teacher’s death murder-cum-robbery

By Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Lahore police claimed on Saturday to have arrested three suspects involved in the murder of an Ahmadi professor and the Marian Chowk robbery, the video of which went viral on social media a few months ago.

On Saturday, the Anti-Organised Crime Cell (CIA) presented 13 wanted men before the media. Four of them were said to be involved in the notorious robbery at a traffic signal in Faisal Town and three behind the robbery-cum-murder of Tahira Perveen, a retired PU professor.

At a press conference at his office, Criminal Investigation Agency SP Tariq Mastoi said the police found no evidence suggesting the murder of Prof Tahira was a religiously motivated murder contrary to media reports. “It is purely a murder-cum-robbery case,” he proclaimed.

CIA police arrested Sajjad Ali, Hammad Aslam and Sunil Masih for the murder within 24 hours and also recovered the mobile phone and $100 stolen from the victim’s room, he said.

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The prime suspect Sajjad worked as an electrician at PU. He would often visit the slain professor’s house and built a relationship of trust with her. The suspect had to pay a loan of Rs300,000 as he had bought some appliances on instalments.

Last Tuesday, he went to Tahira’s house, stabbed her with a cutter and took away her mobile phone and $100 dollars before locking the room from the outside. “He planned to take away other valuables at night but did not know the victim’s daughter remained in constant contact with her,” SP Tariq explained.

When the woman could not get in touch with her mother, she informed her acquaintances and then the university administration. The suspects went to a shop to sell the snatched mobile when they saw the news flash of the murder on media.

“Police could not find any link or evidence suggesting the murder was religiously motivated,” the police official concluded.

Faisal Town robbery

Ten other suspects arrested allegedly belong to the Tahir Imran alias Mithu gang and were said to have been to jail many times.

Four of them were accused of the notorious robbery at a traffic signal in Faisal Town. The video of three men looting a family on a traffic signal had gone viral on social media in November 2016, attracting criticism that Lahore was no more a safe city as people were being robbed in broad daylight.

SP Tariq said the gang members were involved in 31 robbery cases registered with Hanjarwal, Iqbal Town, Muslim Town, Wahdat Colony, Faisal Town and Garden Town police.

He said police started investigation by collecting the CCTV footage, gathering information about relatives of the suspects identified in the videos and arrested the suspects through their informers.

“The men would form a group of two to three and chase a target to a signal. They used to rob the citizens and sell the valuables in other cities,” he added.

Of the five suspects identified in the case, four are in custody while one named Shah Rukh has fled to Dubai. Lahore police have got him arrested through Interpol as well and are acquiring red warrants to bring him back.

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