Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 13:13 UK

Gay arrests in Uganda condemned

Anti-gay protest in Kampala
Many Ugandans remain opposed to gay rights

Human rights group Amnesty International has strongly condemned the arrest of three homosexual rights activists at a Ugandan Aids conference.

Amnesty said it was concerned for the safety of those arrested because of a "history of harassment and degrading treatment" of gays by the police.

The three got past security outside the conference and started distributing leaflets to delegates.

A police spokesman said they could face charges of criminal trespass.

But Amnesty UK director Kate Allen called for their immediate release.

"We consider these three to be prisoners of conscience, detained for their peaceful activism," she said.

The activists were demanding that more be done in Uganda to help homosexuals with HIV/Aids.

"Gay Ugandans also need HIV prevention," read one of their placards, reports the New Vision newspaper.

Another said: "Since 1983 up to 2008 zero shillings to HIV prevention for gay Ugandans."

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda.

The Aids conference has drawn some 1,700 delegates from 70 countries.

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