Last edited: May 02, 2004

Lesbian Student Punished for Sexuality Rumours Kills Herself UK, December 19, 2003

Gay activists in Uganda are outraged over the apparent suicide of a student who was harshly punished in front of other students following accusations that she was a lesbian.

According to a report in the Red Pepper newspaper, Paula Rwomushana, 18, was found dead in her dormitory on December 8 at St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Nsambya.

A week earlier, she was suspended from school, but her parents returned her to the school on December 3. She was reportedly caned several times in front of the student body because she had received love letters from other girls.

Red Pepper reported that the student complained of fever on Friday, December 4. She contacted the school’s health authorities the following day, but never showed up for treatment. The school has issued no further comment on the incident.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Uganda (GLAU) expressed outrage over the incident and criticized the government for being silent about it.

According to GLAU, Uganda laws against homosexuality address sexual acts only.

“Paula was accused based on rumours,” the group said. “No one is guilty until proven so by the court of law. You can’t punish someone based on accusations and allegations.”

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