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Controversial bill up for debate

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s Parliament is expected to soon debate a controversial bill that would abolish the death penalty and repeal sodomy and cross-dressing laws.

Ministers say they plan to submit the bill before legislators break for a two-month recess in early August.

Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster said Saturday that the government also will hold public hearings on the issues.

The bill already has angered religious groups in the conservative South American country.

Under criticism, Guyana’s government previously promised United Nations officials they would at least take some of the issues to Parliament.

The country last hanged a prisoner in 1997. More than 30 convicted criminals remain on death row.

The country’s laws also allow small fines to be levied for cross-dressing and up to 25 years in prison for people convicted of sodomy.

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