Wednesday, August 26, 2009

At Least We're Not in Senegal

Via Big Gay News:

A Senegalese court is trying two 17-year-old boys for the crime of homosexuality. According to a Voice of America article the boys come from Darou Mousty, a devoutly religious town in northern Senegal. Their trial in juvenile court is the latest in a series of cases against gay men. From VOA:
Three other young men from Darou Mousty were arrested with the teenagers in June, but were tried in an adult court in August. Two of the men received five-year sentences and a third, who is younger, was sent to jail for two years. In Senegal, homosexuality is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in jail and fines of up to $3,000.

Siré Ba is a lawyer representing two of the men, including one of the seventeen-year-olds. He says the men were in a private house when a neighbor walked in. Ba says the young men were not caught in the act of having sex, but rather were involved in what he calls 'questionable' activities.

Senegalese law requires that people of the same sex be caught in-the-act in order to be convicted. But Ba says the judge's decision in sentencing the men was subjective.
Senegal has a history of intolerance toward gays. When nine men were convicted of unnatural acts and conspiracy and sentenced to eight years in prison in 2008, their convictions were overturned. But that caused violent public backlash . The grave of an out gay man has been repeatedly dug up and dumped outside the Muslim cemetery. And many homosexuals fear for their lives and safety in Senegal.

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