Several gay men in Uganda have reported that police forced them to undergo painful anal examinations during investigations into charges of homosexuality, which is illegal in the country.
Jackson Mukasa, a 21-year-old gay man living in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, was confronted at his home one morning by a mob of people and police, hitting pots and shouting. Mukasa opened his front door to the police and people only to be beaten by the crowd. He said, “I still have scars from the beatings that followed.”
The police then took Mukasa and a male friend staying at his home to be questioned. They were interrogated, beaten again, and forced to confess to the crime of homosexuality. Both Mukasa and his friend were subjected to forced anal exams that were reportedly so painful and vicious they drew blood.
Nicholas Opiyo, a human right lawyer in Uganda, is in the midst of preparing a constitutional case that would ban forced anal examinations. This practice has been performed under the guise of preventing HIV/AIDS, but is in fact a method of torture inflicted on people accused of homosexuality. Opiyo’s case plans to demonstrate how the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act has been used illegally and as a tool to “dehumanize and stigmatize” LGTBQ individuals.
Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since 1952, but in 2014, Uganda passed a “notorious anti-homosexuality bill” that criminalized same-sex relations and urged Ugandans to report any suspicions of homosexual acts directly to police, increasing distrust and violence against the gay community. Although the law has since been annulled by the country’s top court, the negative effects of the hateful legislation remain in Ugandan society and homosexuality is still illegal.