Two men in Uganda could be the first to be sentenced to death for "aggravated homosexuality"

The death penalty can be applied in cases of incest, as well as for engaging in sexual acts with children, people with disabilities or the elderly.

Uganda's controversial law punishing LGBT sex crimes went into effect last May. Under this provision, the country recently charged two men with separate charges of "aggravated homosexuality." According to the law, this crime is punishable by death if there is evidence of incest. This offense may also be charged to those who engage in non-consensual sexual relations with children, disabled persons or the elderly of the same sex.

The first defendant is a 20-year-old man from the Sorothi district. Jacqueline Okui, spokeswoman for the Ugandan director of public prosecutions' office, told CNN that the man was charged on Aug. 18 after allegedly engaging in "unlawful sexual intercourse with one [man] aged 41 with a disability."

He is represented by attorney Justine Balya. She assured CNN that the penalty they were trying to apply against her client is excessive: "Of course, the fact that the law is being enforced in this way is entirely unconstitutional because it seeks to criminalize what is often consensual conduct between adults." She said the trial could still take time to begin and that she expected her client to remain in pre-trial detention for a long time before he is sentenced.

Sex with a minor

The second man facing the death penalty is from the Jinja district in the east of the country. He is accused of allegedly performing "a sexual act with a child aged 12 of the same sex," Okui said. As in the previous case, the man remains in pre-trial detention and both will appear in court in September.

Both cases are being tried under the new law that came into effect in Uganda in May. This law not only punishes relations of "aggravated homosexuality" with the death penalty but also prohibits same-sex marriages and criminalizes sexual acts between people of the same sex.