Tanzanian yesterday deported three lawyers it accused of “promoting homosexuality,” although what they actually did was consult Tanzanian activists about a planned lawsuit to restore health services for the LGBT community there.
Tanzania has deported three South African lawyers arrested last week for “promoting homosexuality”, their organisation said in a statement.
The Initiative for Strategic Litigation (ISLA) in Africa said that the three had been “deported earlier this evening”, in the statement dated Friday.
The lawyers were amongst a group of 13 people, including a Ugandan and Tanzanians, who were arrested last Tuesday at the Peacock hotel in Dar es Salaam.
[Editor’s note: Among those arrested, and presumably now deported, was Sibongile Ndashe, executive director of ISLA, who was in Tanzania discussing a planned lawsuit against the Tanzanian government for obstructing the nation’s fight against HIV/AIDS by shutting down organizations providing health services to the LGBT community.]
Local police chief Lazaro Mambosasa said they had been “promoting homosexuality”.
“Tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country’s laws,” said Mambosasa.
Just days later an NGO, the Community Health Education Services and Advocacy (CHESA) centre, was suspended on the same charge and accused of organising a workshop at the Peacock hotel.
CHESA and ISLA insisted they were merely coordinating a “legal consultation” to challenge a government decision to limit the provision of some health services.
In February, Tanzania provoked criticism notably from the United States after announcing the closure of several health centres specialising in AIDS prevention, alleging they were fronts for promoting homosexuality.
Tanzania has vowed to deport foreigners campaigning for gay rights in a country where gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment.
In July 2016, the government banned the import of some lubricant gels alleging they were used exclusively by homosexuals.
Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said the sale and occasional free distribution of the gels encouraged gay sex.
- Protests surge as Tanzania jails anti-HIV lawyers; no charges (Oct. 25, 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania cries ‘homosexuality’ to block health-care lawsuit (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- In Tanzania, 13 people attending a meeting are arrested for allegedly promoting homosexuality; operations of a Global Fund SR are suspended (October 2017, Aidspan)
- CHESA AND ISLA Speak Out on the Unlawful Arrests in Tanzania (Oct. 20, 2017, Kuchu Times)
- Tanzania: 12 arrests for allegedly ‘promoting homosexuality’ (Oct. 19, 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzanian AIDS event disrupted by arrest of 20 ‘gay’ suspects (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania threatens to arrest all gay rights activists (June 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Teen posted on Instagram and the next thing he knew, a doctor was invading his body (June 2017, The East African)
- LGBT sex worker on Tanzania crackdown: I’m afraid (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Inside Tanzania’s AIDS-enhancing anti-LGBT crackdown (April 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Global Fund-supported programs suspended amid Tanzanian government crackdown on LGBT community (March 2017, Aidspan)
- Homophobia Explodes In Tanzania, Health Minister Threatens ‘Gay List’ (February 2017, The Advocate)
- Tanzania: U.S Warns Govt Ban May Stall HIV Fight (February 2017, AllAfrica/The Citizen)
- Tanzanian official seeks 3 arrests in ongoing crackdown (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania’s anti-gay effort raises risk of HIV rebound (November 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown now targets AIDS programs (November 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Seeking to limit gay sex, Tanzania bans lubricants (July 2016, 76crimes.com)