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Cablegate: Senegal: Homosexuals Arrested and Released

VZCZCXRO7213
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1546 3631447
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291447Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3528
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS DAKAR 001546

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/RSA, DRL AND INR/AA
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KDEM KTIP PHUM SG
SUBJECT: SENEGAL: Homosexuals Arrested and Released

1. (SBU) On Christmas Eve police in Mbour (a town 70 km south of
Dakar) raided a private residence in the resort town of Saly and
arrested 24 men who had gathered there to celebrate. Among the 24
arrestees were two French doctors. According to news reports, the
party was "infiltrated" by agents of the police. Once enough
"evidence" was gathered, police were called in. All 24 men admitted
to being homosexuals and police reportedly found certain items in
the house to confirm this, precipitating the arrest.

2. (SBU) However, the next day, all 24 men were released without
any charges being pressed. According to further reporting, the
police were at a loss to explain why the men were let go despite the
fact that there was more than enough "evidence" to hold them. One
police officer anonymously commented that this was a political
decision and that, when the release order came, no reason was given.
A spokesperson for the human rights organization ONDH said that
Senegal had recently faced a lot of international pressure over the
issue of homosexuality and that the presence of two Frenchmen in the
group probably led to their release in order to stave off the
inevitable criticism that the government would have had to deal with
had the men been formally charged.

Comment
-------

3. (SBU) What is worrisome is not just the blatant targeting of a
specific group of people, but the amount of effort police in Mbour
allegedly put into this operation. As a popular resort town, Saly
is well known as a place where anything is available for a price.
There are credible reports of child trafficking for the purpose of
prostitution with tourists coming from Europe. Instead of tackling
this heinous form trafficking in persons, the police chose to focus
on the issue of homosexuality, which is not even explicitly illegal
under Senegalese law.
Bernicat

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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