Current Affairs

17-year-old faces homosexuality trial in Senegal

Jessica Geen August 21, 2009
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A 17-year-old boy is due to face trial for “acts against nature” in Senegal next week, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

The IGRHLC reports that two other men were convicted of identical charges on August 10th and were sentenced to two and five years in prison respectively.

It has been alleged that the only evidence against all three men was denunciations from neighbours.

The three men, all from the town of Darou Mousty, in Louga, Senegal, were arrested and detained for alleged same-sex relations on June 19th. A fourth man was also arrested but his whereabouts are unknown.

“This is yet another indication that gay men and those perceived to be gay are in grave danger in Senegal,” said IGLHRC executive director Cary Alan Johnson. “The arrests violate both international and African human rights law. Unpopularity is never a justification for abuse.”

Homosexual acts are punishable in Senegal with between one and five years in prison.

In April, nine men who were sentenced to eight years in prison for “indecent conduct and unnatural acts” had their convictions overturned. Gay rights activists said the sentence was the harshest yet. The convictions were overturned by Dakar’s court of appeal.

There have been a number of similar cases in recent years and the body of a gay man who died on natural causes was twice removed from a Thies cemetery earlier this year by angry villagers.

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.

Last year, the African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights expressed concern over the rise of homophobia and hatred of gays in the country.

More: Africa

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