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Nine Men
Convicted of Homosexual Acts in Senegal

Nine Men
Convicted of Homosexual Acts in Senegal

Nine men in Senegal, including a prominent gay rights activist, have been convicted of homosexual acts and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Nine men in Senegal, including a prominent gay rights activist, have been convicted of homosexual acts and sentenced to eight years in prison, the Associated Press reports.

Diadji Diuof, a well-known Senegalese activist who heads an organization providing HIV prevention and other services, was among the nine men arrested in December during a raid on his apartment. Just weeks before, Senegal played host to an international AIDS conference -- LGBT participants were visible throughout the conference.

Senegal is one of 38 African countries that criminalize homosexual acts. Joel Nana, Africa research and policy coordinator with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Cape Town, notes that South Africa caused a stir in 2006 when it became the first African country to legalize same-sex marriage.

The nine men were convicted of and sentenced for unnatural acts and criminal conspiracy, Nana told AP.

"This is the first case that we've heard of in Senegal where people actually got sentenced," he said, calling the punishment long and harsh.

"It is a strong message of hatred, a strong message of division when we know it is critical at this point to address HIV in these communities," he said. (Advocate.com)

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