Politics | Society | Gay - Lesbian | Human rights
Gambian police arrests "gay tourists"
afrol News, 3 June - Two suspected gay Spanish tourists - Pere Joan, 56, and Juan Monpserratrusau, 54 - were arrested and detained by Gambian police in Kotu, 10 km from the capital Banjul.
The Spaniards were accused of attempting to woo local taxi drivers into homosexuality. The drivers agreed to the men's demands, but informed the police who later rounded them up at a tourist resort.
If found guilty, the men who could face up to 14 years in prison. They were reportedly receiving visits from the Spanish consul to The Gambia who assured them of his "full support."
Last month, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh ordered homosexuals to quit within 24 hours before he "cut off their heads." Jammeh also threatened to legislate "stricter laws than Iran" on homosexuality.
President Jammeh warned hotel and lodge owners against providing shelter to homosexuals on the pretext that homosexuality must not be condoned in his country of "believers and civilized people."
Mr Jammeh's statement has been widely welcomed in a predominantly Muslim nation, especially among religious scholars. He has however received bashing from gay and human rights activists who ordered him to withdraw the threats and guarantee the rights and security of gays and lesbians.
Economists feared the consequences of the arrest and detention on the West African country's economy. A huge chunk of the economy depends on the country's booming tourism industry, which also provides foreign exchange and employment.
In February, a number of Senegalese homosexuals escaped further persecution and fled to the neighbouring Gambia after they were arrested and detained for taking part in a "gay wedding" in the outskirts of the capital Dakar. Jammeh's fired threats have reportedly forced Senegalese homosexuals to flee to Mauritania.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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