Ugandan court moves toward hearing challenge to anti-gay law

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda’s Constitutional Court on Monday took a first step toward hearing a challenge to an anti-gay law that rights activists and Western governments have denounced as draconian.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in May, is one of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws and punishes some same-sex acts with the death penalty.

Lawyers in the case met before the court registrar and agreed to reconvene on Oct. 12, when the matter will be forwarded to the court’s judges to set a hearing date, Nicholas Opiyo, an attorney for the organisations contesting the law, told reporters.

“Our prayer is that this petition is heard and disposed of as quickly as possible because there are people whose lives are in danger. There are people…whose very life depends on the outcome of this petition,” Opiyo said.

At least six people have been charged under the law so far, and rights groups said last week they had documented hundreds of cases of torture, evictions and intimidation against LGBTQ people this year.

(Editing by Aaron Ross and Angus MacSwan)