Friday, September 12, 2014

LGBT rights in Africa: Is Life Imprisonment for Homosexuals Too Much?

LGBT rights in Africa: Gambia's Life Imprisonment for Homosexuals

Is life imprisonment for African homosexuals too much? Why are corrupt leaders not facing this criminal sentence instead of LGBT?

In Nigeria, the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013, signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, imposes prison sentences of up to 14 years on those who are found guilty of being involved in gay organisations. Gays who publicly demonstrate their sexuality can be jailed for 10 years.

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni passed an anti-homosexuality bill in February that sees life imprisonment for gay sex and same-sex marriage.

In Cameroon, its penal code states: "Any person who has sexual relations with a person of the same sex shall be punished with a term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 francs [£25-£250]."

The Gambian parliament has now passed a bill which criminalizes homosexuality and punishes gay people with life imprisonment.

According to the new piece of legislation, gay Gambians can be charged with "aggravated homosexuality" if they have a homosexual relationship with someone younger than 18, or if they are affected by HIV and have homosexual relations.

"A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality is liable on conviction to imprisonment [for] life," said one section of the bill, which is yet to be signed into law by President Yahya Jammeh.


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