Gay men’s bodies desecrated in Senegal
A report says that the bodies of dead gay men in Senegal are being unearthed by homophobic mobs and in some cases being left on their families’ doorsteps.
Associated Press reports that there have been a number of such incidents in the last few years.
Last May, the body of HIV victim Madieye Diallo was exhumed from a cemetery. The process was filmed on a mobile phone and the footage was sold the market in the town of Thies, where he lived.
The report said: “Madieye Diallo’s body had only been in the ground for a few hours when the mob descended on the weedy cemetery with shovels. They yanked out the corpse, spit on its torso, dragged it away and dumped it in front of the home of his elderly parents.”
In May 2008, the family of Serigne Mbaye tried to bury him after he died of natural causes. But they were turned away from a cemetery because of rumours that he was gay.
Mbaye’s family eventually had to dig a grave for him with their hands by the side of a road. When the shallow grave was blown away by the wind, they were charged with improperly burying a body.
Homosexual acts are punishable by imprisonment of between one and five years in Senegal. In Africa, 37 countries have laws against homosexuality and campaigners say a wave of homophobia is spreading across the continent.
According to AP, at least four incidents of gay men’s bodies being exhumed in Senegal have been confirmed in the last two years, despite the country’s reputation for tolerance.
Ryan Thoreson, a fellow at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, who has been researching homophobia in Africa, said: “It’s jarring to see this happen in Senegal.
“When something like this happens in an established democracy, it’s alarming.”