Two seventeen-year-old boys are to
stand trial in Senegal this week for being gay, an international gay
rights group says.
The two boys from the religious town of
Darou Mousty in northern Senegal will stand trial for “homosexual
acts” in a juvenile court in Louga, the region's capital.
“This is yet another indication that
gay men and those perceived to be gay are in grave danger in
Senegal,” Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), said
in a statement. “The arrests violate both international and
African human rights law. Unpopularity is never a justification for
Another three men from Darou Mousty
were also arrested along with the teenagers in June and have been
sentenced to serve prison time after being tried in an adult court.
The young men were arrested in a
private house amid claims of “questionable” activities by a
IGLHRC officials say human rights
abuses against gay men in particular have been escalating since early
2008 in the largely Muslim nation.
In February 2008, ten people were
charged with “homosexuality, incitement to debauchery and
corruption of good behavior” for attending a ceremony that affirmed
the gay union of two men. In January, nine Senegalese men were found
guilty of being gay and given a harsh eight year sentence. The men,
including a prominent AIDS activist, were sentenced in Dakar on
charges of “indecent and unnatural acts” and “forming
associations of criminals.” The men were cleared of the charges by
Senegal's court of appeals in April.
Anti-gay sentiment in Africa has been
on the rise in recent years, including in Ethiopia, where religious
leaders want to constitutionally ban being gay, Nigeria, where
lawmakers have introduced legislation that would criminalize
associating with a known gay person, and Gambia, where its president
has called for the beheading of gay men and women.