12 arrested in Tanzania for ‘promoting homosexuality’
Tanzanian police have arrested 12 men in Dar es Salaam for “promoting homosexuality” as part of their ongoing crackdown.
Lazaro Mambosasa head of the Dar es Salaam police force confirmed the arrests today at a press conference.
He said the “criminals” had been arrested at the Peacock Hotel, though he did not say when.
Of the 12, he said nine were Tanzanians, two South African, and one Ugandan.
One of the arrested was the hotel manager, for providing the room.
He said they were currently being questioned before being tried before a court.
“Tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country’s laws,” said Mambosasa.
He told Tanzanian citizens to notify authorities if they had suspicions of homosexual activity, “so we can act in time.”
At least twenty people, including twelve women, were arrested for “homosexual activity” in a police raid in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar last month.
The regional police chief, Hassan Ali, said they would “intensify vigilance against these groups.”
In Tanzania, male homosexual sex carries a sentence anywhere between 30 years and life in prison.
Their penal code criminalises anyone who “has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”
Earlier this year, Tanzania stopped health clinics from providing HIV services, saying they “cater to homosexuals.”
It is believed 33,000 people in Tanzania died from AIDS-related illnesses last year, and 1.4 million are living with the disease nationwide.
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Tanzania has also launched a crackdown on LGBT activists and advocates, threatening arrest or expulsion from the country.
“Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things,” the Home Affairs Minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, said.
Homosexuality is illegal in much of Africa, and is punishable by death in Mauritania, northern Nigeria, southern Somalia and Sudan.