Senegal prison sentence for gay couple; how rare?

Macky Sall (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Senegal President Macky Sall (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Associated Press reports that a six-month prison sentence has been imposed on a same-sex couple in Senegal but, although the article describes the event as “rare,” that doesn’t mean that repression of LGBT Senegalese people is uncommon.

The article, which was published on Saturday, Feb. 1, described the outcome of the case as “a rare conviction” of a gay couple.  That might be  accurate for gay couples in Senegal, who aren’t often hauled into court in pairs.

But convictions of same-sex couples and LGBT individuals are far from rare in Africa overall, and repression of LGBT people is common in Senegal.

For example, in November five lesbians were arrested in a bar in the capital city, Dakar, on charges of breaking Senegal’s law against same-sex activity. In the latest conviction, AP reports:

“DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – A judge in Senegal sentenced two men to six months’ jail in a rare conviction of a gay couple on criminal charges.

“The two were arrested after neighbors alerted police to their home in Grand Medine neighborhood of Dakar, the capital.

“In court Friday the two men acknowledged having sex. …

“Senegalese President Macky Sall insists gays in the conservative, predominantly Muslim country are only prosecuted for breaking the law.”

Under Senegalese law, prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to $3,000 may be imposed against people who commit “an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex.”

For more information, read the full article “Senegal sentences 2 gay men to 6 months in prison” as well as this blog’s previous coverage of Senegal below.

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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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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