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.

EthiopiaNow, the government says it believes current punishments against gays are "enough" and has withdrawn the bill and canceled a rally organized by religious groups affiliated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the AP reports.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."

Comments

  1. DB says

    “same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.” Although not the worst law in Africa, this is such a blatant and fundamental violation of human rights that it should be enough to trigger trade and other sanctions against Ethiopia by the United States.

    “A 25-year jail term is given to anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts.” This is actually a really good law and should be duplicated in the United States and globally, as long as it also applies the same to those infecting another person with HIV during opposite-sex acts.

  2. gregorybrown says

    In this setting and set of circumstance, admitting that existing laws suffice is a positive thing. The issue now is, how to roll those back to something civilized and rational.

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