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Senegalese authorities freed 11 people arrested for alleged homosexuality

Senegal Frees Alleged Gays

4 January 2016

Over in the homophobic African country of Senegal, local authorities freed 11 people last week who escaped a lynch mob after being arrested at an alleged gay wedding for "alleged homosexuality".

The group was detained during the ceremony at a secondary school in the central town of Kaolack on December 24, according to state-owned news agency APS.

While being transferred under heavy police protection to the local courthouse, their convoy came under attack from a mob, a witness told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The crowd wanted to lynch them. People threw stones at both vehicles. Police dispersed the crowd with tear gas," he added.

Local press reported that the detainees - whose gender was not reported - were kept at a secret location overnight before being taken before the prosecutor.

APS reported that "young people began burning tyres on public roads, to show their anger" at the group.

They were released after the prosecutor found insufficient evidence to proceed to trial, the agency said.

Under Senegalese law, anyone convicted of an "improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex" faces up to five years in jail.

The government has repeatedly ruled out legalising homosexuality in the deeply conservative Muslim-majority country.

President Macky Sall said during US President Barack Obama's visit to Dakar in 2013 that while Senegal was a tolerant country, it was "not yet ready to decriminalise homosexuality".

He repeated the position in an interview on French television in October last year.

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