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Senegal journalist on trial for gay sex stabbing

A journalist is to go on trial tomorrow (17 October) for stabbing a 27 year-old man who demanded money after having gay sex with him
Tamsir Ndiaye Jupiter, a famous journalist from Senegal, is to stand on trial tomorrow for having sex with and trying to stab a man

One of Senegal’s most famous journalists, Tamsir Ndiaye Jupiter, is to face trial for gay sex scandal which has hit the national headlines.

If found guilty both may face five years in prison just for having gay sex.

Jupiter, a celebrated columnist for the daily Nouvel Horizon and employee of UNESCO, had gay sex with a merchant called Matar Diop Diagne in his office in UNESCO’s headquarters in Dakar, capital of Senegal.

Diagne allegedly then proceeded to demand large sums of money from Jupiter, who declined to pay up and ordered the merchant to vacate his office. However, when Diagne refused to leave, a fight broke out between the two, in which Jupiter allegedly stabbed Diagne in the lower abdomen.

The ensuing fight caught the attention of the UNESCO guard who informed the police which arrested the two men, last Thursday (11 October).

Dakar police confirmed today (16 October) that the two have confessed to have been in a gay relationship.

During the court hearing, Diagne, who is 27 years was quoted saying 'a friend of my brother has made me a homosexual at the age of 7'.

Jupiter confessed that he had gay sex previously: ‘In the past, I did it. However it’s been a long while since I had stopped such practices. Unfortunately, Matar Diop Diagne was able to entrap me when I had this sexual intercourse with him. Which I regret...’

The case has been widely publicized in the Senegalese media and has become a moral panic, with many commentators questioning the moral ethics of UNESCO and the nation in general.

According to the local press Jupiter has been completely ostracised by his family, neighbourhood and colleagues, in effect becoming ‘socially a dead man’.

Senegal, a conservative mainly Muslim country in the north west of Africa, specifically outlaws same-sex sexual acts; article 319 prohibits ‘unnatural sexual acts’ and punishes homosexuality with one to five years imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 ($200 €152) to 1,500,000 Sengal Francs ($2,000 €1,524).

Jupiter and Diagne will stand on trial tomorrow for violating article 319 of the Senegalese penal code. In addition Jupiter will also be prosecuted of illegal possession of weapons and grievous bodily harm.

According to the Senegalese portal Setal.Net, the presiding judge will be Adiyatou Guèye who has been previously criticised for his harsh judgement of 9 gay men to 8 years imprisonment for ‘indecent conduct and unnatural acts’.

Not only does Senegal specifically outlaw same-sex sexual acts, but it has consistently prosecuted men accused of homosexuality in the past. Senegal’s LGBT community faces routine discrimination and persecution.

According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 97 percent of Senegal residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept, which was the second-highest rate of non-acceptance in the 45 countries surveyed.

The U.S. Department of State's 2011 Human Rights Report found that ‘In the recent past[,] gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons often faced criminal prosecution and widespread discrimination, social intolerance, and acts of violence. The media failed to report acts of hatred or violence against LGBT persons.’

In November 2010 Human Rights Watch released a report entitled ‘Fear of Life: Violence against Gay Men and Men Perceived as Gay in Senegal’. The report discussed cases of violence against gay men and the legal and cultural milieu that fostered such violence.

Commenting on the news, Omar Kuddus, an LGBT rights advocate and GSN contributor said: ‘I am very concerned about Jupiter’s statement that he was “entrapped” and the report that he has become a social outcast.

‘This unfortunately is not uncommon in Islamic states that prohibit and punish homosexuality.

‘I fear that Tamsir Ndiaye Jupiter’s position as a journalist and his work at UNESCO will be used against and he has been effectively judged guilty by the media and public even before his case reaches court.’  

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