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Gay Man’s Grave Desecrated and His Body Burned in Senegal: Report

Senegalese people walk Great Mosque of Touba home of Mouride Brotherhood
Image: Shutterstock

Authorities have fast-tracked an investigation into what happened as human rights organizations condemn the act.

Cwnewser

A shocking incident in Senegal is under investigation, where a video depicted a gay man’s body being exhumed and burned.

This alarming event occurred in the city of Kaolack, where individuals, last week, sought out and desecrated the grave of a man buried the previous day, as per the public prosecutor, according to Agence France-Presse. Local media speculate that the man’s sexual orientation drove the act, though this detail was not confirmed by the prosecutor nor verified by AFP.

The videos, spread across social and local media, show onlookers surrounding a large fire, capturing the grim scene on their phones. Senegal, where homosexual acts are deemed “against nature” and punishable by imprisonment, has a history of homophobia. However, this act has struck a chord, being seen by many as a blatant disrespect toward the deceased, AFP reports.

The judiciary, reacting to the “barbarity” of the act, initiated an investigation on Sunday to identify and punish the perpetrators. AFP, as informed by an anonymous local police official, reported that four individuals suspected to have orchestrated this act were arrested in Kaolack on Monday. Although rare, there have been documented cases of body exhumation due to alleged homosexuality in Senegal from 2008 to 2009.

Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International Senegal, have vehemently condemned the incident for violating the dignity of the deceased and his family. The hostile environment for Senegal’s LGBTQ+ community is not new, with many forced to hide their identity or flee abroad to evade persecution. In 2021, the majority of the 1,300 Senegalese asylum applications in France cited sexual orientation-based persecution.

Attempts by the deceased’s family to bury him in Senegal’s holy city of Touba were thwarted by allegations of his homosexuality. They eventually buried him near his home in Kaolack amid community objections. Prominent religious leader Serigne Cheikh Tidiane Khalifa Niasse denounced the act, while a representative from the group “And Samm Jikko Yi” blamed the Senegalese state for seemingly over-protecting the LGBTQ+ community, leading to such acts of mob justice.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).