Gambia: Bill passed to allow life imprisonment for gays

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A Gambian politician has said the country is soon to adopt a law which allows life imprisonment for those found guilty of crimes linked to being gay.

The law was passed by the National Assembly, and amends the criminal code to bring life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.”

The Associated Press reports that a draft bill contains identical language to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law earlier this year.

According to the legislation, “aggravated homosexuality” applies to “serial offenders”, as well as people living with HIV or AIDS.

Abdoulie Bojang said the bill had been passed by the Assembly last month.

The next step for the bill is to be signed into law by President Yahya Jammeh, who in February referred to gay people as “vermin”, saying they should be dealt with in the same way as mosquitoes which “cause” malaria.

Amnesty International says the bill will add to “the climate of fear” facing gay people in Gambia.

Same-sex activity in the country is currently punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment.