Month in jail without trial for 20 in ‘homosexual’ dance

Gambia President Yahya Jammeh (Photo courtesy of WIki Commons)
Gambia President Yahya Jammeh (Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons)

Eighteen men and two women remain in custody in The Gambia, arrested two weeks ago for alleged homosexual behavior and now forced to wait two more weeks for a trial because a new prosecutor wanted more time to prepare.

The trial, scheduled for Monday, April 23, was put off to Tuesday,  May 8. Defense attorneys protested  the delay.

The alleged homosexuals were arrested April 6 after a dance ceremony for tourists at Kololi village about 18 kilometers outside the Gambian capital, Banjul. The dance allegedly included men dressed as women.

The Gambia/Senegal news website Jollofnews Online reported:

The trial was adjourned for two weeks to enable the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution who is now prosecuting the case to get acquainted with the case file. …

Lead defense counsel Lamin Camara said some of the defendants who are currently [in custody] are supposed to travel out of the country. …

“I think if the state [actually planned on] taking over the criminal prosecution, they would have done it at the right time.”

Meanwhile Yahya Jammeh, the president of The Gambia, defended the country’s treatment of homosexuals.  He portrayed European and American pressure for repeal of anti-LGBT laws as bribery, because some countries have threatened to cut off foreign aid if the laws remain unchanged. He said:

“If you are to give us aid for men and men or for women and women to marry, leave it. We don’t need your aid because as far as I am the president of the Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country. …

“Let me make it very clear that … you will not bribe me to do what is evil and ungodly.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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