AN eight-year-old girl in the east African country of Uganda was arrested under suspicion of being a lesbian.

Police said the girl was reported by her neighbours for having “romantic relationships” with her friends.

According to local news reports the neighbour had complained to police several time that the girl “repeatedly lured her friends to a farm near her house, where the girls would engage in inappropriate behaviour with one another”, in the town of Jinja which is 85kms east of Uganda’s capital Kampala.

Officer in charge of the investigation, Catherine Wobuyaga, said the girl was in police custody and confessed her involvement with other girls, most of whom were her classmates.

Amnesty International’s East Africa Campaigner, Victor Odero, demanded the girl be released immediately.

“The girl should be immediately and unconditionally released if she is still in detention,” he said.

“What she needs is protection and respect for her privacy, rather than being treated as a criminal.”

Uganda has strict laws prohibiting homosexuality and can carry criminal sentences of life imprisonment for those found guilty of homosexuality.

Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister, Reverend Father Simon Lokodo, cited the country’s said his ministry was committed to fighting homosexuality in the country.

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