Senegalese police have arrested 4 men over a spate of vigilante attacks on alleged homosexuals last Thursday but local Muslims have marched calling for their release
Four Senegalese men have been arrested after they attacked five men they alleged were homosexuals with stones and batons on Thursday but protests have been held urging authorities to release the men.
The four men were arrested by Senegalese police in the city of Rufisque after they stoned and bludgeoned the five men in what they said was a campaign to rid their community of homosexuals.
‘The suspects were arrested Friday for destruction of property and causing injury,’ police spokesman Mamadou Faye told the Associated Press.
‘They wanted to clean their neighborhood, which they said was infested with homosexuals.’
Others still at large may also have been involved in the attacks.
However over a hundred people including local imams took part in a march in support of the accused on Friday in the majority Muslim West African nation – calling for their release.
The arrests of the alleged gay bashers is a rare instance of Senegalese authorities standing up for the rights of LGBTI people.
A gay couple were sentenced to six months in prison by a Dakar court on Friday and in November five women were arrested after they were accused of kissing in a restaurant.
Senegal punishes sex between men with up to five years in prison and also imposes strict fines.
US President Barack Obama called for Senegal to decriminalize homosexuality during a visit to the country in June but Senegal’s President Macky Sall rejected the call saying his people were not yet ready to take that step.
‘We are not ready to decriminalize homosexuality. But this does not mean we are homophobic,’ Sall said in June.
‘Society needs to take its time to reflect on the question without pressure. We don’t persecute homosexuals in Senegal. Society will regulate this as attitudes evolve.’
by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News