, KAMPALA, Aug 17 – Uganda is tightening its Internet security after hackers attacked the prime minister’s website to post statements supporting gay rights, the country’s Internet regulator said Friday.
Activists hacked into the website of the prime minister’s office earlier this week and posted a fake press release announcing the minister’s support for a gay pride parade.
“Our first priority is to apply all necessary resources to give all institutions, the tools, processes and support they require to strengthen the security of their IT systems in case of any incident,” Uganda’s National Information Technology Authority said in a statement.
Pro-gay activists targeted Uganda after a controversial bill that would see certain homosexual acts punished by the death penalty was re-introduced to parliament earlier this year.
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but the proposed legislation has previously attracted heavy criticism for the draconian penalties it proposed.
It would introduce the death sentence for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for the second time, as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV.
The statement posted online claimed to be from the prime minister’s office and condemned widespread homophobia in Uganda.
“We have got to expel the narrow mindedness from this country, and begin afresh, starting with a full and formal apology to all homosexuals living in Uganda today,” the statement, purporting to be from Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, said.
The statement had been removed from the website as of Friday.