Gambia gay death
From bbc,co,uk on the
Web, May 23, 2008
Gay rights activists have
condemned Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's threat to behead homosexuals.
Last week he told a political rally that gay people had 24 hours to leave the
He promised "stricter laws than Iran" on homosexuality and said he would "cut
off the head" of any gay person found in The Gambia.
Carey Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council said the
comments were "disgraceful".
"What president Jammeh fails to realise is that there are a significant
population of Gambians who are gay, and he has no right to ask them to leave,"
Mr Johnson said.
The Gambia is a country of
believers... sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not
be tolerated in this country
President of The Gambia
The speech was "doubly disgraceful"
because The Gambia is the host country for the African Commission on Human and
People's Rights, he said.
Mr Johnson said the speech, part of President Jammeh's 13-day tour of the
country, was an attempt to scapegoat gay people and blame them for the country's
"He's fighting to maintain his control over the country, he finds the weakest
group and lays all the problems at their door," Mr Johnson said.
'History of homophobia'
"The Gambia is a country of believers... sinful and immoral practices [such] as
homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country," the president told a crowd
at a political rally on May 15.
"Jammeh has a long history of homophobia," said British gay rights activist
"If he tries to carry out these threats, international aid donors are likely to
withdraw their support, and foreign tourists will stay away in droves, thereby
damaging the Gambian economy," he added.
Correspondents say a number of homosexual men have fled to The Gambia from
neighbouring Senegal after a crackdown there following arrests at a "gay
wedding" in February.
Both countries are predominantly Muslim and President Jammeh cultivates an image
of being a devout Muslim.
In February last year, he was condemned by campaigners when he claimed to have
cured people of HIV and Aids.
His "cure" was a mixture of herbs that patients ate and spread on their bodies.