Zanzibar Gay Sex Ban Becomes Official
By Ben Townley, Gay.com U.K.
The ban on gay and lesbian sex on the island of Zanzibar
went into effect last week, after the president added his signature to the
The new law, introduced in March of this year with
parliamentary backing in April, could punish those men found to be guilty of
having sex with up to 25 years in prison. Lesbians could see 7 years in jail
for having sex.
It is thought that the law was originally proposed after
the island, situated in the Indian Ocean, moved towards a more hard-line
In the past, the government has been accused of paying
too much notice to extreme Islamic leaders and drawing up laws after coming
under pressure from religious groups.
President Amani Karume signed the bill into law late last
week, to the support of its backers.
However, it has caused international condemnation for the
island, with civil rights groups hitting out at its anti-gay stance.
Additionally, U.K. activist Peter Tatchell called for a
boycott of the island, which is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, from both
gay and straight travelers.
“I think gay people should be extremely careful if
they go to countries like Zanzibar, and the safest policy is not to go there
at all,” he said in April.
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