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Senegal: country suffers ‘shock wave’ after body of alleged homosexual is exhumed and then burned

Senegal: country suffers ‘shock wave’ after body of alleged homosexual is exhumed and then burned

Senegal: country suffers ‘shock wave’ after body of alleged homosexual is exhumed and then burned

A lively crowd mills around what appears to be the remains of a homosexual being dug up for burning. The horrific images sparked unrest in Senegal, where homosexuality is nonetheless frowned upon.

In this country with over 90% Muslim population and very practicing homosexuality, it is generally considered a “deviation”. The law punishes so-called “unnatural acts with a person of the same sex” with imprisonment for a term of one to five years. However, the actions allegedly committed on the night between Saturday and Sunday in Kaolack (centre) were widely regarded as a violation of respect for the dead.

Dozens of people gathered around the fire

Four people suspected of “facilitating sponsors” were arrested on Monday in Kaolack, a local police spokesman told AFP, confirming the press report on condition of anonymity without elaborating. Justice announced on Sunday the launch of an investigation to identify and punish those responsible for this “barbarity.”

According to the prosecution, on Saturday evening individuals showed up at Leona Niassen Cemetery in the Khaolack area looking for the grave of a person buried the day before. They exhumed him, dragged him outside and burned him, the prosecution said.

The media unanimously reported that these actions were motivated by the deceased’s homosexuality, and AFP was unable to confirm this elsewhere. Videos widely circulated in the press and on social media showed at least dozens of people gathered around the large fire, with cellphones filming the scene.

Although very rare, the exhumation of a person identified as homosexual is not the first time this has happened in Senegal. In 2008 and 2009, at least two cases were reported in the center and west of the country. Senegalese writer Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, winner of the 2021 Prix Goncourt, describes a similar scene in his novel De Purs hommes. But AFP has not found any recent evidence of public cremation. Radio RFM, which is widely listened to, reported a “shock wave” on Monday.

Numerous demonstrations against homosexuality.

Amnesty International Senegal, the African Caucus for the Defense of Human Rights and the Senegalese League for Human Rights in a press release “strongly condemned this act, which degrades the dignity of the deceased and his family.”

Amnesty and others have criticized the plight of gay people in Senegal, who are forced into hiding, with some opting for exile. They say they have seen the situation worsen in recent years.

Acceptance of homosexuality is very low. This is considered to be contrary to national culture. It is criticized as a tool for the West to impose its values. This regularly gives rise to demonstrations for stricter laws.

Source: Le Parisien

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