John M. Becker

Gambia Enacts Draconian New Anti-Homosexuality Law

Filed By John M. Becker | November 21, 2014 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Africa, anti-homosexuality law, Gambia, Jail the Gays Bill, sodomy law, Yahya Jammeh

jammeh.jpgRemember that "Jail the Gays" bill that the west African nation of Gambia passed in September -- the one that toughens the country's already barbaric anti-homosexuality laws and punishes so-called "aggravated homosexuality" with life imprisonment?

Yahya Jammeh, the nation's crackpot president dictator, has signed it into law. He apparently did so last month, but the world is just learning about it now.

The Associated Press reports:

The president of Gambia has signed a bill into law that calls for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, the latest African country to codify harsh penalties for the gay community.

A copy of the legislation, which was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, indicates that President Yahya Jammeh signed it on Oct. 9, though no government officials have yet publicly notified the country of the new law... The law contains language identical to an anti-gay bill signed into law in Uganda earlier this year but later overturned by a court on procedural grounds.

It criminalizes "aggravated homosexuality," which targets "serial offenders" and people living with HIV or AIDS. Suspects can also be charged with aggravated homosexuality for engaging in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or who has been drugged. The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person or is "in authority over" him or her.

People found guilty of aggravated homosexuality can be sentenced to life in prison.

That Jammeh would sign the measure has never really been in dispute. One of Africa's most outspokenly homophobic leaders, Jammeh has called gays "vermin," threatened the lives of LGBT asylum-seekers, and claimed during an address to the United Nations that homosexuality is "more deadly than all natural disasters put together."

According to Amnesty International, authorities have already begun enforcing the new law: security forces are arresting people in raids, torturing them, threatening them with rape, and pressuring them to confess to gay sex acts. At least four men, nine women, and a 17-year-old boy have reportedly been arrested.

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