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Uganda rebuffs critics of antigay law

KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda’s president said he wants no lectures from Western governments opposed to the country’s controversial antigay bill, signaling he is set to sign it into law.

President Yoweri Museveni, who faces pressure within the ruling party to sign the bill, said in a statement released Friday that countries ‘‘should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence.’’

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‘‘Africans do not seek to impose their views on anybody,’’ Museveni said in the statement, which was published in the government-controlled New Vision as a response to US criticism of the bill. ‘‘We do not want anybody to impose their views on us.”

President Obama said in a statement Sunday that the bill is a ‘‘step backward for all Ugandans’’ and warned that enacting it would ‘‘complicate’’ the East African country’s relationship with Washington.

The bill is widely popular in Uganda, where it has been championed by Christian clerics and politicians who say it is necessary to deter Western homosexuals from ‘‘recruiting’’ Ugandan children. Some Ugandan gays say the measure was orchestrated in 2009 by US evangelicals who wanted to spread their antigay agenda in Africa.

The bill originally proposed the death penalty for a category of offenses called ‘‘aggravated homosexuality,’’ defined to include repeated sex among consenting adults as well as sex acts involving minors or a partner infected with HIV.

Amid international pressure, the death penalty was removed. The bill now sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty.

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