A 61-year-old Belgian and his 63-year-old Senegalese husband have been sentenced to two years in jail for “homosexual marriage and acts against nature.”

The couple, Richard Lambot and Moustapha Gueye, were married in Belgium in July and then returned to Africa.

“To help Moustapha Gueye get papers to live in Belgium, Richard Lambot married him,” Lawyer Seyni Ndione told the Herald Sun.

While gay marriage is legal in Belgium, homosexual acts are punishable by imprisonment of between one and five years in Senegal.

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

Earlier this year the African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights 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.”

In February the release from prison of several men arrested on suspicion of homosexuality following the publication of photographs of a same-sex “marriage ceremony” led to riots, acres of print and media coverage and a conspiracy theory.

The fact the men were released led local media to speculate that they were threatening to reveal “high-ranking state officials” are gay.

Afrol News reported that “dozens of Senegalese homosexuals” have left the country to escape death threats.