Senegal which is one of the few former Francophone countries to criminalise sodomy has sentenced 9 men to an eight year jail sentence despite the judge’s recommendation of 5 years. The concern in this case is the violation of the rights of the men who were arrested in the home of Mr Diouf, who heads AIDES Senegal which provides HIV prevention services to men who have sex with men.
In February 2008, ten men and one woman were arrested in Dakar after a popular local magazine published photographs of a marriage ceremony between two Senegalese men. The publicity and arrests created tremendous public animosity toward LGBT people in Senegal. Statements such as “killing a homosexual is not a sin” and “they should all be well and truly eliminated from the face of the Earth!” appeared on websites. Many gay men and lesbians were attacked by mobs or driven from their homes. IGLHRC coordinated financial assistance for LGBT defenders and others at risk, and led an advocacy campaign demanding the detainees’ release.
In the current case, IGLHRC is deeply concerned by what appears to be a violation of: a) the right to a free and fair trial, b) the right to privacy, and c) the right to freedom from discrimination. IGLHRC is working with local and international partners to find more information about the case and explore options for action.