In April and May 2009, you'll recall a number of stories on bloodthirsty, state-sanctioned anti-gay lynch mobs that swept Senegal. One of the more despicable stories concerned the body of a man suspected to have been gay that was exhumed twice from a cemetery. Madieye Diallo's (pictured) body was dumped in front of the family home. Even more heartbreaking: Diallo died because he stopped taking his HIV medication when he was in hiding during one of the homophobic witchhunts. This was after tabloids published photos of him and others at a gay wedding.
The Associated Press revisits that tragedy and finds even after death, gays continue to be terrorized in Senegal and graves are regularly being desecrated:
"To the long list of abuse meted out to suspected homosexuals in Africa, Senegal has added a new form of degradation — the desecration of their bodies. In the past two years, at least four men suspected of being gay have been exhumed by angry mobs in cemeteries in Senegal. The violence is especially shocking because Senegal, unlike other countries in the region, is considered a model of tolerance. 'It's jarring to see this happen in Senegal,' says Ryan Thoreson, a fellow at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission who has been researching the rise of homophobia here. 'When something like this happens in an established democracy, it's alarming.' Even though homosexuality is illegal in Senegal, colonial documents indicate the country has long had a clandestine gay community. In many towns, they were tacitly accepted, says Cheikh Ibrahima Niang, a professor of social anthropology at Senegal's largest university. In fact, the visibility of gays in Senegal may have helped to prompt the backlash against them."
To add insult to injury, the exhumation and desecration of Madieye Diallo was videotaped via mobile phones and posted online.
"The shaky image shows a group of men jerking around the edges of the grave. One of them straddles the pit and shovels away the fine gray dirt until you can see the shrouded body. It's still inside the trough when they tie a rope around its feet. They yank it out, cheering as the body bends over the lip of the grave. The shroud catches on the ground and tears off, revealing the dead man's torso. Rassul Djitte, 48, watched from behind the wall of a nearby school. He had not known Diallo personally, but says he felt a stab. ''People were rejoicing,' he says. 'They dragged him past me and his body left tracks in the sand. Like a car passing through snow.'"
Diallo's body was exhumed and desecrated the same week Senegalese media and Muslim leaders urged citizens to attack gays. One local youth leader told Dakar's L'Observeur: "The homosexuals will not escape lynching. They will be fish food."
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