Friday, February 8, 2008

Senegal: police release alleged members of homosexual wedding; investigation continues

From BBC:

Police in Senegal have released several men arrested over the publication of pictures said to depict a wedding ceremony between two men.

No official reason has been given for their release.

The pictures were published in Icone magazine, whose editor, Mansour Dieng, has since received death threats.

Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal but it is not clear whether the arrests were in connection with the ceremony or the death threats.

Mr Dieng has also been questioned by police over the issue.

The BBC's Tidiane Sy in Senegal said that at least five of those arrested appeared in the photographs.

Agence France Presse said the authrotieis will continue their investigation into the case.

"The release does not mean that they have no case to answer. It is only part of the investigations, the process is ongoing," she said adding that other suspects are being hunted down.

A police official said the five suspects had been questioned over "gross indecency and marriage against nature".

Under Senegalese laws acts "against nature with an individual of the same sex" are punishable with a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine of between 100,000 CFA francs (150 euros, 225 dollars) to one million francs.

A Dakar-based pan-African human rights body RADDHO, has meantime expressed its concern at the "hatred of homosexuals" displayed through the country's public media.

The case is the start of "a disturbing rise in homophobia and hatred of homosexuals in public opinion (in Senegal)".

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