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Gambian Leader Pledges Violence Against Gay People

Gambian Leader Pledges Violence Against Gay People May 14, 2015

Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh is once again urging and promising violence against gay people in his country in the most lurid and horrifying terms. In remarks while touring the country, he said that if you are caught being gay there “no one will ever set eyes on you again.”

Yahya Jammeh, the virulently anti-gay dictator who has ruled the Gambia for the last decade made some of his most hateful comments on the country’s LGBT community last week.

“If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat,” he said according to a translation obtained by VICE News. “[I]f you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”

Jammeh gave the speech in Wolof before a crowd in the town of Farafeni while on a national agricultural tour.

This is not the first time the country’s enigmatic leader has expressed homophobic vitriol. In October, he railed against homosexuality as “satanic behavior.” That same month, Jammeh approved a law that allows for “aggravated homosexuality” to be punished with anywhere from 15 years to life in prison.

The law is seen by rights’ groups as vague and open-ended. Human Rights Watch said that it’s “sparked a witch-hunt” against LGBT people. Some of those taken into custody for being gay were told that they did not “confess” a device would be inserted into their anuses or vaginas to “test” their sexual orientation.

Africa is one of the front lines of the battle for gay rights in the world today. Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, among other countries, have brutal and totalitarian laws to hunt down and punish gay people, often even putting them to death.

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