The frightening situation for the LGBT+ community in Tanzania continues with the news that ten men were arrested for attending a suspected gay wedding. The only proof authorities had for a wedding taking place was the fact that the men were sitting “two by two.”
Amnesty International reported that the police had been tipped off that a same-sex marriage was taking place on Pongwe Beach. They turned up and arrested the ten men while six others managed to flee. Those arrested are currently being held in prison. The authorities claim two of the men were carrying out the ceremony while the others sat in pairs. Amnesty have said the men were more than likely only attending a party, although that doesn’t lessen the horror of the situation.
Seif Magango, a spokesperson for Amnesty, said: “It is mind-boggling that the mere act of sitting in a pair can assume criminal proportions. The police clearly have no grounds to file charges against these men in court, despite arresting them three days ago.” He continued by saying they may be forced to undergo anal examination in order to prove if they are gay.
This is the latest incident since the governor of Dar Es Salaam, Paul Makonda, called for a country-wide purge of gay people. Since Makonda announced to the public: “If you know of a homosexual, you must report them to a police officer, no one can escape,” over 5,000 people suspected of being members of the LGBT+ community have been reported to Tanzanian police.
In response to what they are calling a “deterioration of the human rights and rule of law,” Roeland van de Geer, the European Union’s ambassador to Tanzania has been withdrawn from the country.
The EU are also reviewing their relationship with Tanzania considering they had pledged to donate over $700 million to the country by 2020.
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