A young man who narrowly escaped lynching by a homophobic crowd last month in Senegal was sentenced on Jan. 21 to six months in prison on homosexuality charges.
In Touba, holy city of the Islamist mourides (holy men) of Senegal, Samba narrowly escaped death by lynching on Dec. 28, 2020. The angry crowd that pursued the young man wanted to burn him because of his gender identity and presumed sexual orientation.
Samba (a pseudonym) was saved from lynching by police, who arrested him on homosexuality charges.
On Jan. 21, in the first LGBTphobic conviction of the year in Senegal, Samba was sentenced to six months in prison.
The conviction was for an “an act against nature” under Article 319 of Senegal’s penal code, which provides for a sentence of up to five years for homosexual activity. Samba was also convicted of a public health violation related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Souleymane Diouf (also a pseudonym), a leader of the Free Collective, an LGBTQ rights group in Senegal, said Samba should not appeal his conviction, because that would attract even more harmful publicity to his case.
“In this type of case, the echoes resound in Senegal,” he said.
Activist Moïse Manoel interviewed Diouf by phone on Jan. 22:
What were the shortcomings of the legal process in Samba’s case?
“There is no flagrant ‘unnatural act’. The defendant was denied access to a lawyer when he was taken into custody. He was not notified of his rights, which often happens in cases involving people who allegedly are LGBTI.
“The investigators pushed for a quick confession. In arguing for conviction, the prosecution relied on messages and images in Samba’s phone, which was a complete violation of his privacy.
“It is astounding that, at the same time, no action has been taken against easily recognizable people in the videos [of the mob] circulating on social networks. People who assaulted Samba were not bothered by the authorities. The message that justice is served by throwing stones and beating people who appear to be gay.”
Do you have any news about the two homosexuals allegedly arrested in Dakar on Nov. 23?
“No. We worry and fear for their lives. We have been trying to reach them or find out about them, but so far have had no success.”
Media and organizations wishing to contact the Free Collectif can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Senegal: Victims of homophobia find respect inside prison walls (January
- Senegal: Activists pledge to confront Islamist homophobia (December 2020, 76crimes.com)
- Senegal: 2 anti-homosexuality arrests at Grand Mosque of Dakar (November 2020, 76crimes.com)
- 13 Senegal arrestees were tortured before being released (November 2020, 76crimes.com)
- Senegal: Prison for 8 men arrested at supposed ‘gay wedding’ (November 2020, 76crimes.com)
- Senegal: Anti-gay zealots target 25 arrested men, 4 teenage girls (October 2020, 76crimes.com)
- Good news from Senegal: Gay activists help 4 men reach safety (October 2020, 76crimes.com)
- Gay activist confronts violent Sufi Islamic homophobia in Senegal October 2020, 76crimes.com
- Anti-gay violence mars Sufi ‘holy city’ in Senegal (October 2020, 76crimes.com)
- Senegal: Activists seek funds to rescue 10 men arrested by religious police (September 2020, 76crimes.com)