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Jammeh signs anti-gay bill into law: life in prison for homosexuals

Nov 25, 2014, 10:11 AM | Article By: Al Amin

The Point newspaper has confirmed from an authentic government source that President Jammeh has signed the bill that imposes life imprisonment for some homosexual acts.

The National Assembly in August, this year, passed the Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2014 which imposed a life sentence for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

The bill was officially signed into law on 9 October 2014 by the Gambian leader, one of the world’s most outspoken leaders against same-sex relationships.

This was announced in the latest edition of the Gazette, an official periodic publication of the government.

This approval by President Jammeh makes The Gambia among the latest and few countries in Africa with such laws on homosexuality.

Under the new law, a person is guilty of aggravated homosexuality for engaging in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18 or disabled or is a serial offender, or having the victim drugged.

The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person, or is “in authority over” him or her.

The enactment of this legislation with such “broad provisions” by the National Assembly prompted an outcry from human rights organisations around the world.

Earlier on, the minority leader of the Assembly, Samba Jallow, said while his National Reconciliation Party did not condone homosexuality, he voted against the bill because “homosexuals did not commit a crime worthy of life imprisonment or any treasonable offence”.

Prior to the passage of this legislation, homosexual acts were already punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Porn carries 10 years or more.

Also published in the Gazette was Jammeh’s approval, by signing into law, the amendment to the Criminal Code clearly prohibiting child pornography.

Under the new law, a person shall not produce, traffic in, publish, broadcast, procure, import, export, sell or abet any form of pornography.

It states that a person who produces, participates in the production, traffics, publishes, broadcasts, procures, imports, exports or in any way abets pornography depicting images of children is liable to a fine of not less than D20,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both fine and imprisonment.