Senegal Arrests Two for Criticising PM on Gay Rights

Wed May 22 2024
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DAKAR, Senegal: Police took into custody an activist and a preacher in Dakar after they filmed videos criticising Senegal’s prime minister for perceived tolerance towards gay people, media reported on Tuesday.

Quoting a source close to the case, the media said that the two men are being investigated for “spreading false news” and “offending” the head of government.

Activist Bah Diakhate was arrested by Judicial police on Monday after he recorded a video attacking Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko for an earlier statement on LGBTQ rights.

A day later, preacher Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Ndao was taken into custody after also criticising the PM for what he said was complacency towards LGBTQ issues.

Sonko spoke about the issue last week during a visit by French far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Religious leaders and other activists in Senegal criticized Sonko for his perceived tolerance and for giving Melenchon a platform to speak out on the issue.

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Homosexuality is stigmatized in the West African nation, where a law prohibiting “acting against nature with an individual of the same sex” is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Last Thursday, Sonko warned that insistence on LGBTQ rights in diplomatic relations and by multinational organizations could lead to “anti-Western sentiment”.

Speaking to students in Dakar, Sonko called on Westerners to respect Senegalese culture and claimed that “there has never been any persecution” of LGBTQ people in his country.

He suggested that same-sex relationships should not be “accepted but tolerated”.

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