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by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Nine Senegalese men who were sent to prison for eight years on Jan. 6 for engaging in gay sex and belonging to a “criminal association” (the HIV agency AIDES Senegal) saw their sentences overturned on appeal April 20, UNAIDS said.
The organization said pressure had been applied in the case by UNAIDS, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Swedish and French embassies. Dakar’s Court of Appeal ordered the men be released from prison immediately.
The men were arrested in December 2008 in a raid on the apartment of gay leader Diadji Diouf. Prosecutors used condoms and lube confiscated during the raid to “prove” that the men had engaged in gay sex.
The men received the maximum five-year sentence for doing what the Penal Code calls “an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex” and three additional years for being members of the “criminal” HIV agency.