11 Arrested for Being Gay in Senegal—Is President Obama to Blame?

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The Daily Beast
By Jay Michaelson
Dec. 30, 2015

Reports from the West African nation of Senegal say that the government has arrested 11 people accused of homosexual acts. If convicted, those accused—who were rounded up at a “celebration of a gay marriage”—face up to five years in prison.

Incidents like this are rare, but not unprecedented, particularly in West Africa. Similar arrests have taken place in Nigeria, Gambia, and Cameroon. But it may be, in part, a backlash against American efforts.

In 2013, in what was seen across Africa as an overbearing attempt to influence policy, President Obama raised the issue of LGBT equality with Senegalese President Macky Sall. But President Sall doubled down, saying that Senegal would decide its own laws—and adding that it had banned the death penalty, thus putting it ahead of the United States on at least one human-rights issue. In March 2014, Senegal sentenced two men to six months each in prison for the crime of homosexuality.

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