Two gay men were arrested and jailed after being caught having sex.
The men received 18 month sentences, despite living in a country where same-sex activities are not illegal.
The men live in Ivory Coast, which does not criminalise homosexuality.
No law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status in the country.
Many LGBT people from surrounding countries consider it a mildly safer haven to flee to for that reason.
However authorities have refused to give a reason for the arrest and imprisonment of the two consenting men.
Yann, 31, and Abdoul, 19, who are both openly gay, were arrested in October last year
Abdoul’s uncle walked in on the pair having sex, then filed a complaint for “public indecency” with local police.
The men admitted to the facts of the case put forward – that they had been having sex – and argued it broke no laws.
Prosecutors accused the pair of an “unnatural and indecent act”, arguing that sexual intercourse between people of the same sex should still be “sanctioned”.
Men who have sex with men sometimes get convicted of “public indecency” charges as a proxy to making homosexuality illegal.
Speaking after their 18 month prison sentence was handed down, Yann said the pair were “convicted in an unjust manner”.
“If there is no law that that condemns it, I don’t understand how we could have been convicted”, he added.
Graeme Reid, director of an LGBT rights programme in the country, said: “A vague law, arbitrary arrests and an unexplained conviction: this is completely contrary to the rule of law.
“The government needs to come clean and offer an explanation to these two young men who have spent three months in jail for no apparent reason.”
It comes after a group of gay men said they were made to flee their homes after being attacked for signing a book of condolence for victims of the Orlando Pulse mass shooting.
Six gay men in Ivory Coast said they were targeted by a mob, who found out their identities from a photo uploaded by the US Embassy there.
It’s not the only prison sentence for being LGBT in recent days.
A teenager is currently behind bars for being trans in Tunisia, after being arrested wearing women’s clothing, which police deemed offended “good morals”.
by Benjamin Butterworth
Source – PinkNews