A group of men arrested in Senegal on suspicion of homosexuality have been released from prison.

Seven arrested last weekend in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, were released yesterday, according to Radio France Internationale (RFI).

The arrests followed the publication in local magazine Icones photographs of a “marriage ceremony” between two Senegalese men.

Sources report that the photographs were sold to the magazine by the photographer for 1,500,000 CFA francs (£1,500).

The arrests were reportedly undertaken upon the orders of Asane Ndoye, head of the Senegalese Police’s Division of Criminal Investigation.

Earlier this week the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and PAN-Africa International Lesbian and Gay Association demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the men.

RFI reports that their release was welcomed by the African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights.

The group had expressed concern over the rise of homophobia and hatred of homosexuals in Senegal.

Muslim organisations in the African nation have warned against “enemies of the faith and of morality.”

Senegal is one of the few Francophone African countries that penalises homosexuality.

Homosexual acts are punishable by imprisonment of between one and five years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 CFA francs.

While there are occasional arrests and convictions of gay men in Senegal, social stigma and blackmail are the most prevalent abuses faced by gay men in the country.