Two gay men in the West African nation were convicted of criminal charges and sentenced to six months in jail for an ‘unnatural act’ after neighbors alerted authorities that they lived together.
Citing the African country’s penal code, Judge Racky Deme sentenced two men to six months in prison, after the pair admitted Friday to having had sexual relations, reports the Associated Press.
Neighbors initially alerted authorities to the couple’s cohabitation in Dakar, the national’s capital. Although conviction is rare, criminal charges for “an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex” can carry a sentence of up to five years and a $3,000 fine.
The president of Senegal, Macky Sall, maintains that his country is tolerant of same-sex relations, despite the findings of a Pew Research Center poll, which finds that, in the African countries that criminalize homosexuality, more than 90 percent of citizens say gay people don’t belong in society.
Sall claimed that Senegal is “a very tolerant country which does not discriminate,” albeit one that is “still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality.”
“When it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally,” Obama said at a news conference in the West African nation.