The UK Border Authority has threatened to deport a gay man to Senegal unless he can "prove" his sexuality.
Twenty-six-year-old Serigne Tacko Mbengue is a college student and activist leader for the National Union of Students. Mbengue fled his homeland in 2008 to escape homophobic persecution but the appeal process continues "because the Home Office doesn't believe he is gay," reports The Guardian.
Mbengue says: "I'm a very outspoken gay man. I'm not going back to Senegal. If I do, I will be a dead body."
Mbengue's lawyer, Hani Zubedei, says they have all the evidence necessary, including credible witnesses and a medical record that shows he was tortured. "But the Home Office "doubts him on credibility grounds", adds Zubeidi. They won't issue him a status document – which would give him the legal right to live and work in the UK – until he has proved his sexuality....
His prominence has brought repercussions however. Shortly before Christmas, Mbengue was attacked in London by a group of Senegalese men. The group taunted him with homophobic chanting and punched him. [A supporter] says: "If he can be attacked in Britain, then how can he be safe in Senegal?"
This is not the first time the UKBA has dismissed accounts of homophobic violence or torture in Africa. Authorities have previously threatened to deport gay asylum seekers to Uganda, Cameroon, Tanzania and other nations.
Recent weeks have seen an escalation in anti-gay hysteria in the West African nation. A gay couple was viciously beaten when one of the men's parents reportedly caught them having sex. Senegalese media has reportedly used the inci launch another round of anti-gay hysteria in the largely Islamic nation.
In April and May 2009, you may recall a number of stories on bloodthirsty, state-sanctioned anti-gay lynch mobs that swept Senegal. One of the more despicable reports concerned the body of a man suspected to have been gay that was exhumed twice from a cemetery. A 17-year-old accused of being gay by neighbors was sentenced to two years in prison in 2009.
Senegal is one of at least 38 of Africa's 54 nations that currently have laws penalizing same-sex relations or even sexuality. Under Article 3.913 of the Senegalese penal code, "homosexual acts are punishable by imprisonment of between one and five years" and a fine of up to $3,000. Four African nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality.
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