Dozens of people have been charged by a Ugandan court after police raided a gay bar considered to be one of the few safe spaces left for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the capital of Kampala.

Dozens of Ugandans sit cross-legged, police patrolling around them, outside the RAM bar in the country’s capital city after a police raid

While investigators in the central African nation have claimed the arrests of 127 people at the underground RAM bar followed reports of shisha and opium smoking, rights groups have claimed the raid was an assault on the community amid increasing pressure against sexual minorities.

“This is just a homophobic attack,” LGBT+ activist Raymond Karuhanga said outside the court after 67 people were charged. ​

“These were people in a club, not even on the streets. They were having fun, listening to music. Then you arrest almost 130 and charge them with being a public nuisance.”

He added: “They just want to silence us as a community.”

Uganda has stringent ant-LGBT+ laws. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” is punishable by life imprisonment – an amended carry-over from the laws of British colonial rule.

 

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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