Gays tar­geted in Tan­za­nia ar­rests

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

ZANZ­IBAR, Tan­za­nia — Tan­za­nian au­thor­i­ties are car­ry­ing out phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions on 10 men sus­pected of ho­mo­sex­ual ac­tiv­ity in Zanz­ibar, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

A wave of ar­rests of gays in Tan­za­nia is feared af­ter a se­nior of­fi­cial urged the pub­lic to re­port sus­pected ho­mo­sex­u­als to au­thor­i­ties. Ho­mo­sex­ual acts are il­le­gal in Tan­za­nia and can bring a sen­tence of up 30 years.

The ex­am­i­na­tions are tak­ing place Fri­day to see if there are any signs of same-sex re­la­tions among the men, who were ar­rested last week on sus­pi­cion of cel­e­brat­ing a gay mar­riage at a re­sort ho­tel, po­lice chief of the south re­gion of Zanz­ibar, Suleiman Has­san, told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“We acted on a tip-off from a good ci­ti­zen lead­ing them to abort their party dur­ing the week­end and then po­lice made a quick ar­rest,” said Has­san. Af­ter be­ing held for sev­eral days, the men have been re­leased pend­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, he said.

Last week Paul Makonda, the ad­min­is­tra­tive chief of Dar es Salaam, Tan­za­nia’s largest city, urged cit­i­zens to re­port any sus­pected ho­mo­sex­u­als. He said a task force would be es­tab­lished to seek out and pun­ish ho­mo­sex­u­als and pros­ti­tutes.

Days later Tan­za­nia’s for­eign min­istry said Makonda’s state­ment did not rep­re­sent gov­ern­ment pol­icy but many gays in this East African coun­try say they are fright­ened.

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional warned against the ex­am­i­na­tions of the men who were ar­rested.

“We now fear th­ese men may be sub­jected to forced anal ex­am­i­na­tion, the gov­ern­ment’s method of choice for ‘prov­ing’ same-sex sex­ual ac­tiv­ity among men,” said Seif Ma­gango, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional’s East Africa Deputy Di­rec­tor.

Since com­ing to power in 2015, Pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli has made sev­eral state­ments against the rights of sex­ual mi­nori­ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.