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Senegal sentences gay men to prison

A judge in Senegal sentenced two men to six months in jail in a rare conviction of a gay couple on criminal charges.

The two were arrested after neighbors alerted police to their home in Dakar.

In court Jan. 31, the two men acknowledged having sex. Judge Racky Deme sentenced them under Senegal’s penal code that calls for prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to $3,000 for committing “an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex.”

More than two-thirds of African countries outlaw consensual same-sex acts, and discrimination and violence against gays, lesbians and transgender people is common.

Senegalese President Macky Sall insists gays in the conservative, predominantly Muslim country are only prosecuted for breaking the law.

Russian editor fined under antigay law

A court in Russia’s Far East has fined a newspaper editor for publishing an interview with a gay school teacher who defended homosexuality as normal.

Alexander Suturin, editor of the Molodoi Dalnevostochnik weekly, was ordered to pay a 50,000-ruble ($1,400) fine on charges of violating a controversial law banning gay “propaganda” among minors, according to the Interfax news agency. The law has drawn strong international criticism and calls by gay activists and others for a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics, which run from Feb. 7-23.

The court in Khabarovsk, a city on the Amur River on the border with China, found Suturin guilty because he published an interview with teacher Alexander Yermoshkin, who lost his job because he is gay.

Suturin said he would appeal the ruling.

Three injured after Bosnian queer-film screening attack

Three people were injured last week after a Sarajevo queer-film screening, after several “hooligans” stormed the cinema wearing hoods and balaclavas.

A police official reported that several men had entered the art cinema Kriterion on the second day of the Merlinka queer film festival, which started Jan. 31.

“Several hooligans entered the Kriterion cinema during the festival,” the official said. “Three people were injured and taken to a hospital, but their lives are not in danger.”

He added that the attackers “did not break anything, but they were yelling and intimidating participants who attended a debate which followed the screening of a movie.”

Although the event organizers could not be reached for immediate comment, a cinema employee reported that around 10-15 men had entered the building prior to the attack.

The festival, organized by Bosnian and Serbian gay-rights groups, screened 30 films on LGBT rights and culture.

In 2008, the organizers of a queer festival in Sarajevo were forced to close after some participants were attacked by an angry mob.

Participants and organizers continued to receive death threats following the violent attack in which eight people were injured.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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