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."