After nine Senegalese HIV/AIDS activists were freed from prison last week, they were met with a lynch mob and Muslim leaders and the media are urging people to attack gays, Amnesty International and various African news outlets report.
Dakar's L'Observeur quotes a local youth leader: "The homosexuals will not escape lynching. They will be fish food."
Press Agence Emmegi reports: "The men told Amnesty International delegates who met them at the Camp Penal prison in Dakar in April that following their arrest, 'A crowd of bystanders was waiting for us, they asked the police to remit us to the crowd as they threw stones at us and screamed: "These are fags, they should not be put in jail, they should be lynched, let them out, we'll kill them ourselves".' "
The report adds: "Media and an Islamic organization have disseminated homophobic statements describing the nine men as 'vicious' or 'perverts' spreading AIDS. Radio programs have broadcast messages calling on the population to attack and throw stones at anyone suspected of 'being a homosexual.' "
Senegal—where 95 percent of the population is Muslim—is one of 38 African nations that criminalize homosexual acts. The nine gay AIDS activists were arrested in Dakar in December 2008 following anonymous accusation. After being sentenced to eight years hard labor—the harshest sentence yet for such an offense—the conviction was overturned.
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