The Gambia Hub




Gambian Leader Signs Law Imposing Life Imprisonment for Homosexual Acts Amid New Crackdown

Jammeh

Gambia's leader Yahya Jammed signed a bill into law that would imprison citizens for homosexual acts, the AP has revealed:

It criminalizes "aggravated homosexuality," which targets "serial offenders" and people living with HIV or AIDS. Suspects can also be charged with aggravated homosexuality for engaging in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or who has been drugged. The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person or is "in authority over" him or her.

People found guilty of aggravated homosexuality can be sentenced to life in prison.

The revelation comes amidst a new crackdown on gays in the country this month.

GambiaAmnesty International reported this week:

Since 7 November, state forces have launched a homosexuality investigation, leading to at least eight arrests.

Four men plus one 17-year-old boy were arrested by the National Intelligence Agency and Presidential Guards in Banjul, the capital city, under investigation for crimes of homosexuality. They are being held in a secret location without access to a lawyer, and are at high risk of being tortured. By holding the men in detention for more than three days without charging or releasing them, state forces are breaking the law according to Gambia's constitution.

Three women were also arrested in Banjul on 13 November. They said they were beaten in detention and threatened with rape by security forces. The women have now been released, but the police kept their identity cards and banned them from travelling.

All detainees, male and female, were told that if they did not 'confess' to the charges of homosexuality, a device would forced into their anus or vagina to 'test' their sexual orientation.

State forces are reportedly collecting a list of names for future arrest. Other men and women managed to escape the forces' interrogation as friends and relatives gave them advance warning that security forces would be targeting them.

Buzzfeed adds:

“They are making a list,” said Amnesty International’s François Patuel. “This is a very well organized operation.”

Fatou Camara said she had spoken to sources with the intelligence service that said 200 people alleged to be LGBT had been identified, but this could not be independently confirmed.

Theresa said she and her best friend, who asked to be identified only as Youngesp, fled to the Senegalese capital Dakar around three weeks ago. A friend who works on the police force tipped them off, telling them, “you guys have to leave the country because they are coming to arrest you.” They left at 4:00 AM the next morning.


Chad Considers Criminalizing Gay Sex With 20 Years In Prison

Idriss_Deby_Itno_IMG_3724
(Chad President Idriss Déby)

Chad is likely to become the 37th African country to outlaw homosexuality after politicians voted in favor of a proposed law that would make same-sex relations a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, reports The Guardian.

According to Amnesty International, same-sex relations are illegal - and in some punishable by death - in 36 of Africa’s 54 countries.

Chad’s penal code does not explicitly mention homosexuality but the proposed amendment states the punishment for anyone who has sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex is 15 to 20 years in jail and a fine of 50,000-500,000 Central African francs (around $100-$1,000). Chad map

Government officials have said that the measure, which has yet to be ratified by President Idriss Déby, is intended to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society”.

The Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights called on Déby to strike down the proposed law:

“By criminalising homosexuality, Chad’s proposed penal code is an instrument of discrimination, not of justice. I urge president Déby and the Chadian parliament to reject any attempts to make prejudice the law of the land.”

Florent Geel, Africa director of the International Federation of Human Rights, said that although it is to be welcomed that the proposed bill would abolish the death penalty, this positive “is unfortunately marred by the criminalisation of homosexuality.”

According to Geel, while the reform of the penal code had been in preparation for 10 years, the question of homosexuality, while considered immoral, had never been an issue in Chad.

A number of countries in Africa have recently enacted severe anti-gay laws. Some observers believe this may be a response to the increased visibility and assertiveness of LGBT people in Africa. However, US evangelical Christians - chief among them Scott Lively - have been widely blamed for instigating draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda and other countries.

Last month, The Gambia passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.”

In January, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a bill criminalising same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights groups.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe regularly attacks LGBT people in speeches and recently said he resented - but continues to accept - western aid because it depends on conditions such as accepting homosexuality.

Although Uganda’s harsh anti-gay law was struck down by judges on a technicality, it is expected to be reintroduced by MPs.


The Gambia Passes Bill Punishing 'Aggravated Homosexuality' With Life Imprisonment

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fd09c881970b-800wi

The Associated Press reports that the National Assembly in the west African nation of The Gambia last month passed a bill that would make "some homosexual acts", also referred to as "aggravated homosexuality", punishable with life in prison:

That is a charge leveled at repeat offenders and people living with HIV/AIDS. [Minority leader Samba] Jallow said that while his National Reconciliation Party did not condone homosexuality, he voted against the bill along with one other lawmaker. "In our view, (homosexuals) did not commit a crime worthy of life imprisonment or any treasonable offense," he said.

National Assembly Speaker Abdoulie Bojang confirmed the new bill was passed last month but would not provide further details.

A draft seen by The Associated Press contains language identical to a controversial anti-gay bill signed into law in Uganda earlier this year.

In addition to "serial offenders" and people living with HIV/AIDS, both pieces of legislation say examples of "aggravated homosexuality" include when the suspect engages in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or has been drugged. The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person or is "in authority over" him or her.

The Gambian bill was modeled closely after Uganda's anti-gay law, which was only recently struck down on a legal technicality. The Gambian bill now awaits the approval of the nation's autocratic and virulently anti-gay ruler, President Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh has previously threatened gays in The Gambia, issuing a warning to any LGBT Gambians seeking asylum in Europe: "If I catch them I will kill them." Jammeh has also compared gays to "vermin" and malaria-infected mosquitoes. In his mind, LGBT "can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence." In an address to the UN last September, Jammeh labeled homosexuality as one of the three "biggest threats to human existence." He also notoriously threatened gay Gambians with punishments worse than life imprisonment, promising, "If we catch you, you will regret why you are born." 


Gambia To Toughen Anti-gay Laws By Banning All LGBT Rights Organizations and Advocacy

Momodou SaballyIn a statement to the press on Friday, Gambia’s Secretary General and Minister for Presidential Affairs Momodou Sabally announced legislation to further toughen anti-LGBT laws in the West African nation by banning all LGBT rights advocacy.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Gambia and can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.  

Sabally said the government plans to strengthen its efforts to ward off any attempt to promote homosexuality, drug abuse and other crimes in The Gambia and that his country "will not import any western culture into the country in exchange for foreign aid" - likely in reference to the U.S. recently imposing a series of sanctions on Uganda over the country's own anti-gay laws.

In the past, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has been outspoken about his hatred of gays - announcing his plans back in 2008 to 'cut off the head' of any homosexual caught in his country. 


Gambian President Threatens Gay Asylum Seekers: 'If I Catch Them I Will Kill Them'

6a00d8341c730253ef019affa50ef4970d-500wi

According to the APA, President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh, who recently compared gays to ‘vermin’ and ‘malaria-infected mosquitos’ has accused Gambian citizens seeking asylum in the west of pretending to be gay so as to avoid having to return home:

“Some people go to the west and claim they are gays and that their lives are at risk in The Gambia, in order for them to be granted a stay in Europe. If I catch them I will kill them” the Gambian leader warned.

According to him, the British authorities have realized the untruthfulness of those claims which people used as a strategy to stay in Britain.

He said, the British have decided to conduct a test on travelers claiming to come from The Gambia and information to confirm their sexual orientation. 

The “tests” Jammeh mentions may refer to reports that surfaced late last year that found foreign nationals seeking asylum in Britain on the grounds that they were gay and would face persecution at home often had to provide “proof” they were gay, with extreme cases showing that individuals handed over “photographic and video evidence of 'highly personal sexual activity.’”

Jammeh has a history of making anti-gay threats, previously warning homosexuals in The Gambia, “If we catch you, you will regret why you were born.” Jammeh also labeled homosexuality as “one of the biggest threats to human existence” in an address before the United Nations last year.


Secretary of State John Kerry Calls Gambian President's Gay 'Vermin' Remarks 'Unacceptable'

Jammeh Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement yesterday in response to remarks from Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday which labeled homosexuals "vermin" that should be exterminated like malaria-causing mosquitos.

Said Kerry:

The United States is deeply troubled by the hateful rhetoric used by President Jammeh in his National Day speech on February 18. All people are created equal and should be able to live free from discrimination, and that includes discrimination based on sexual identity and sexual orientation. We call on the Government of The Gambia to protect the human rights of all Gambians, and we encourage the international community to send a clear signal that statements of this nature have no place in the public dialogue and are unacceptable.

Human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all individuals. The United States stands by you no matter where you are and no matter who you love.

Said Jammeh on Tuesday:

"We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively...We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptised by the powers that promote them...As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence."


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged