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Uganda Gays Face Life in Jail Under Tough New Law

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Defying U.S. warnings, Ugandan President Yoweir Museveni signed a tough new anti-gay bill that toughens already strict legislation against homosexuals on Monday.

Life imprisonment could now be on the table for anyone convicted of having gay sex, with first-time offenders facing 14 years in jail, according to drafts of the report seen by The Associated Press. The final bill has not been published.

It will also make it a crime to promote gay activity, and to fail to report someone for breaking the new law, again according to drafts.

A category of offenses called "aggravated homosexuality," defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults as well as acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV were also included when the bill was being drawn up.

Museveni's signature will please a staunchly conservative local constituency that is vehemently opposed to homosexuality, but risks alienating Western aid donors.

President Barack Obama warned it would complicate relations with Washington, and called it a "step backward for Ugandans," earlier this month.

"It's a gloomy day not just for the gay community in Uganda but for all Ugandans who care about human rights because this law will affect everybody," said Julian Peppe Onziema, spokesman for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community in Uganda told the Associated Press.

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