Currently Playing

Historic case in Uganda as accused homosexuals go on trial

Historic case in Uganda as accused homosexuals go on trial

by Reuters

Two men walk into the dock at a Uganda court on Wednesday.

Their alleged crime: homosexuality.

They're the first people in this African country charged with a tougher new anti-gay law that aims to punish gay and lesbian individuals with long jail sentences.

...Including life in prison for some offenses.

The new measure had public support when it was passed a few months ago.

But in the capital Kampala on Wednesday, some of that support may have waned.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) KAMPALA RESIDENT, PETUA SHIRIKE, SAYING:

"I personally believe that some people are born homosexuals, so I believe taking them to court is not the right thing."

(SOUNDBITE) (English) KAMPALA RESIDENT ROBERT KIBIRANGO, SAYING:

"For people being tried out in court, I think they should be given a chance whereby there is rehabilitation, they are helped out of that habit of homosexuality, because I have seen people leave the habit."

Critics say the new legislation further erodes civil liberties here and gay rights activist say they plan a legal challenge.