Ethiopian Government Backs Off Plans to Further Demonize Gays, Cancels Bill, Rally
In late MArch we reported that the Ethiopian government had introduced legislation to make criminal sentences of homosexuality 'non-pardonable' as activists in the country planned an anti-gay rally.
Now, the government says it believes current punishments against gays are "enough" and has withdrawn the bill and canceled a rally organized by religious groups affiliated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the AP reports.
Redwan Hussein, a government spokesman said the anti-gay rally was on certain groups' agenda, but not the government's.
"It is not a serious crime. Plus, it is not as widespread as some people suggest. It is already a crime and a certain amount of punishment is prescribed for it. The government thinks the current jail term in enough," said Redwan, who confirmed that gay crimes would not be added to the list of unpardonable crimes.
Currently, adds the AP, "same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A 25-year jail term is given to anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts."