Life Behind Bars for Being Gay
March 25, 2004
By 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Zanzibar City, Zanzibar—The
government of Zanzibar is preparing to enact legislation that would impose
sentences of life imprisonment for men convicted of gay sex.
A life sentence under Zanzibar law is 25 years behind
bars. The draft bill being considered would impose a seven-year term for
A semi-autonomous region within the Tanzania Republic,
Zanzibar’s main religion is Islam, and religious leaders exert considerable
power over the government.
Although homosexuality is already a crime in the country
the Indian Ocean island has become popular with gay tourists mainly from South
Africa, despite its lack of gay clubs.
Gays and lesbians on the island are closeted and most are
in heterosexual marriages. But, its growing popularity with tourists has
resulted in a backlash from religious leaders.
The clampdown follows a same-sex marriage reportedly
celebrated publicly on the island last year.
“We have heard that same-sex marriages have taken
place here and we want to guard against this trend,” Zanzibar’s deputy
attorney general, Omar Makungu, told the BBC.
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