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» 13.07.2010 - Senegal leader's son denies monarchic ambitions
» 25.03.2010 - Senegal should do away with bottlenecks, IMF
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» 23.11.2009 - S/Korea to double aid to Africa
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» 17.09.2009 - MCC signs $540 million compact with Senegal
» 27.08.2009 - Senegalese police unit joins AU-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur

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Politics | Society | Human rights

Senegal gay arrest condemned

afrol News, 5 February - Gay rights organisations - the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Pan-Africa ILGA - condemned the arrest and detention of more than a dozen gay suspects in the Senegalese capital Dakar at the weekend, demanding the "immediate and unconditional release" of the men.

In a letter to the Senegalese Minister of Justice, the organisations expressed outrage and
concern over the issue.

Senegalese security clamped down on the men after a popular local magazine, Icones, splashed photographs of a marriage ceremony between two Senegalese men.

Believed to have taken place in a discrete location in Dakar more than a year ago, the

photographs of the marriage were reportedly sold to the magazine by the photographer for US $3,000.

The men, whose whereabouts are unclear, were reportedly arrested under the orders of a senior criminal investigation officer.

"Mass arrests of people simply because they are gay terrorize the entire community," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director.

"The inhuman treatment of gay men and lesbians must stop. We call upon the world community to enforce international human rights law."

The organisations blamed Senegal for violating the UN convention that protects sexual

"We are afraid for our lives, especially those of us shown in the photographs," a Senegalese gay activist who is hiding in a hotel told ILGA and IGLHRC. "Some of us have gone into hiding and others are fleeing the country," he said.

Homosexuality acts are outlaw by Senegal's penal code and those found guilty serve between one and five years prison sentence. Those found guilty are also fined not less than US $200 and not exceeding US $3,000.

There has been occasional arrests and convictions of gay men in Senegal, but the rampant "social stigma and blackmail have been the most prevalent abuses faced by gay men in the country."

Joel Nana, the Program Associate for IGLHRC in West Africa, found the arrests as "very
distressing" because Senegal has been attained tremendous progress on the issue of homosexuality.

"The government has included a commitment to fighting HIV among men who have sex with men in its national AIDS response plan since 2005."

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