Homosexuality and the law in Africa
Two Zambian men charged with having consensual gay sex were acquitted in a high-profile case Thursday.
Here are some facts about homosexuality and the law in Africa:
- Homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries, including Zambia, according to Amnesty International, with punishment ranging from short jail sentences to the death penalty.
- In Mauritania and Sudan homosexuality is an offence punishable by death.
- In Nigeria displays of affection between homosexual couples in public are illegal and punishable by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.
- Under controversial new laws in Uganda same-sex relationships can be punished by up to 14 years imprisonment and a life sentence for multiple offences. The laws also prevent the support of gay rights by individuals, companies, media organisations and NGOs.
- Since 2005, more than 50 arrests for same-sex conduct have been made in Cameroon, according to Amnesty. Suspects have often been detained and forced to submit to anal examinations.
- In Zambia homosexual relations are punishable by jail terms of 15 years or more.
- Alone in Africa, South Africa's constitution forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, apartheid and colonial-era laws prohibiting sodomy have been ruled unconstitutional and same-sex marriages are recognised.