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Ugandas President Opposes Death Penalty for Gays

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Is Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni the one who is pushing to eliminate the death penalty from the proposed antihomosexuality bill?

According to the Canadian Press
, Uganda's ethics minister said Thursday that Museveni has told colleagues he thinks the proposed bill is too harsh and has encouraged the ruling National Resistance Movement Party to remove the provision, which mandates a death sentence for sexually active gays living with HIV, "repeat offenders" of the law, and in cases involving same-sex rape.

It is still unclear whether Museveni supports life imprisonment for gays, another punishment option in the bill.

"The death penalty is likely to be removed," said James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda's minister of state for ethics and integrity. "The president doesn't believe in killing gays. I also don't believe in it. I think gays can be counseled and they stop the bad habit."

Mary Karoro Okurut, a spokeswoman for the ruling party, has said she too opposes the killing of gays but will still support the bill when it comes to parliament in late February.

"Although the president is against some parts of the bill, the bill has to stay," she said. "[Homosexuality] is not allowed in African culture. We have to protect the children in schools who are being recruited into homosexual activities."

Frank Mugisha, leader of Sex Minorities Uganda, said the gay rights group will support Museveni when he's up for reelection in 2011. His support for removing the death penalty provision is enough to secure the group's endorsement.

Read the full story here
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