Police in Senegal have freed several men arrested over the publication of gay wedding photos, but they gave no further explanation other than that the investigation is ongoing, reports Agence France-Presse.
Last week, Icone magazine published a story about a gay wedding between two Senegalese men. Shortly after, police in Senegal reportedly arrested between seven and 20 men “on suspicion of homosexuality.”
The editor of the magazine received death threats following the story’s publication, but it’s unclear whether the men were arrested in connection with the wedding ceremony or the alleged death threats.
The BBC reports that “at least five of the men arrested appeared in the photographs.”
Homosexual acts are prohibited under Senegalese law, with punishment ranging from one to five years in prison, and fines from $200 to $3,000.
Early this week, international gay rights groups were quick to condemn the arrests, and demanded the release of the men.
“Mass arrests of people simply because they are gay terrorize the entire community,” said Paula Ettelbrick, the executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “The inhuman treatment of gay men and lesbians must stop.”
Dakar-based African human rights group RADDHO told AFP that this case is the start of “a disturbing rise in homophobia and hatred of homosexuals in public opinion (in Senegal).”