Police in Uganda on Sunday raided an LGBT shelter in Kampala, accusing them of violating the nation's social distancing policy aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus.

LGBT rights advocate Frank Mugisha described the charges as a pretense.

“It is evident that they were arrested because of their homosexuality,” Mugisha is quoted as saying by ABC News. Some of the people are “on AIDS medications,” he said.

Three of the 23 people caught in the raid were freed because of ill health, he said.

The house targeted by the police was a known shelter for LGBT people seeking support and had been previously raided by the police, Mugisha said.

Gay sex is a crime in Uganda and 32 African nations, according to Human Rights Watch.

In 2014, Uganda's highest court struck down on a technicality a law that made gay sex punishable by death. The law was dubbed the “kill the gays” bill.