November 22, 2014 – Reported by iOL news – Dakar – Rights campaigners called on Friday for Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to reverse laws introducing a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life imprisonment.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement that the new criminal code signed by Jammeh on October 9 could be used to target “repeat offenders” and people living with HIV.
“The new law treats consensual, private sexual activity between adults of the same sex – which should not be a crime – in the same way as rape and incest,” Steve Cockburn, Amnesty’s deputy regional director said in the statement.
“The vague and imprecise provisions of this law could be used to arrest and detain anyone who is believed to be gay or lesbian, and contributes to the already severe climate of hostility and fear for LGBTI people in the country.”
Jammeh, a former military officer who seized power in a 1994 coup, brooks no dissent in a country often blasted by rights bodies for abuses and homophobia.
He has repeatedly denounced homosexuality and once vowed to behead gays, although he later retracted the threat…