Ugandan authorities confirmed yesterday the arrest of 16 LGBTQ people by police in Kampala on Monday.
Gay sex is illegal in Uganda and those found guilty face life in jail.
Although there is widespread persecution of LGBTQ minorities in Uganda, local activists say it has increased in recent weeks.
They say the atmosphere has worsened since reports emerged Uganda may be again considering legislation to introduce the death penalty for same-sex sexual activity.
Following swift international condemnation, the government has denied it is looking to change the law – despite it being one of its own ministers who initially mooted the legislation returning.
According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, the individuals were arrested Monday at a shelter of a sexual health charity, Let’s Walk Uganda, where they resided or worked. They are all thought to be aged 22-35.
Reports say a crowd had gathered outside the building and was chanting anti-gay slogans. Those inside the building called the police to rescue them. Instead, they were arrested.
Police say that they found condoms, lubricant, and anti-retroviral drugs at the site.
The individuals concerned were taken into custody and all underwent anal examinations.
“Based on the medical examination report, it was established that the suspects were involved in sexual acts punishable under the penal code,” Kampala Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said.
All 16 have now been released on police bond. However, it is expected that they will be recalled to attend court at a later date.
A police spokesperson told Thomson Reuters Foundation: “They will keep reporting to the police on selected dates pending further guidance from the state attorney’s office.”
Amnesty International is just one of the organizations to denounce the use of forced anal examinations to determine sexual activity, previously labeling such practices “abhorrent” and tantamount to “torture.”