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General News of Wednesday, 7 February 2024



Parliament approves up to 6-month custodial sentence on promotion of LGBTQ activities

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Parliament has approved an amendment to the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, commonly known as the anti-gay bill, introducing harsher penalties, including up to six months in prison for those involved in supporting, encouraging, facilitating, or promoting LGBTQ activities, Myjoyonline reports.

The amendment, proposed by co-sponsor Sam George, aims to establish rigorous consequences to ensure compliance with the law once enacted.

According to the proposed amendment, individuals convicted of promoting LGBTQ activities may face a minimum prison sentence of three months and a maximum of six months, along with a fine ranging from GH₵600 to GH₵1200.

Sam George defended the severity of the penalties, stating, "For me, even the GH₵600 is a bargain because it aims to prevent lengthy custodial sentences." He argued that the proposed fines and imprisonment durations would act as an effective deterrent.

However, Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin expressed disagreement with the amendment, suggesting that a custodial sentence of three months or less would be more appropriate. Afenyo-Markin highlighted the financial burden on the state and cited studies indicating adverse outcomes for individuals post-release from incarceration.

Afenyo-Markin proposed considering shorter custodial sentences, stating, "Yes, if the commensurate penalty unit cannot be defined within the context of the proposal, then we should not go higher."

He emphasized the importance of retaining the option of a fine, asserting that "this parliament must not depart from that. So please colleagues, we cannot do away with a fine. And we should not attempt to say that merely being guilty of this should lead to imprisonment without an option for a fine. Let's be careful."

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