A Senegalese gay man’s body was been dug up from its grave and burned over the weekend. The perpetrators searched a Kaolack cemetery on Saturday evening for the gravesite of a man buried on Friday, according to the public prosecutor. Media has reported that the perpetrators specifically targeted the body because the man was gay, though this was not mentioned in the official statement given by the prosecutor. Senegal is known to be rampant with homophobia, having laws that deem gay sex “against nature” that come with a punishment of jail for up to five years.
Though Senegal is known to have largely anti-gay laws and views, the crime has shocked the Senegalese people as an act of disrespect against the dead. Amnesty International Senegal released a statement condemning the crime and saying that it “violates the dignity of the deceased and his family”. On Sunday, Senegal’s judiciary said an investigation would be opened to identify and persecute those who committed this act of “barbarity,” which was allegedly caught on camera.
According to AFP, four people are suspected of “being among the masterminds” and were arrested on Monday in Kaolack.
According to Vanguard, the deceased gay man’s family had wanted to bury him in Senegal’s holy city of Touba, but because of his sexual orientation, his burial was refused. His family then tried to bury him near his home, but the neighborhood objected. That’s when they decided to bury him in the Kaolack cemetery.
Serigne Cheikh Tidiane Khalifa Niasse, who heads a local branch of the influential Tidianes religious brotherhood, expressed his outrage over the crime. He released a statement that mentioned his “profound indignation and categorical condemnation of the reprehensible act that was committed against an individual for whom we have no responsibility whatsoever in terms of his private life”.
“This act can in no way be justified or tolerated,” the statement concluded. This is not the first time a gay person’s body has been dug up in Senegal.
This is a developing story.