Senegalese justice has opened an investigation after the exhumation of the body of a man buried in a cemetery before being dragged and burned by “unidentified men” on Saturday evening, announced Sunday October 29 the public prosecutor, Abasse Yaya Wane.
“These extremely serious acts, amounting to barbarism, call out to the authorities and cannot go unpunished. An investigation has been opened in order to identify the perpetrators and initiate criminal proceedings against them,” writes the prosecutor, quoted in a press release.
The judicial authority did not give details on the remains which had been buried Friday in the Kaolack cemetery, some 200km southeast of Dakar, but according to several local media, his body was exhumed because it was that of 'an alleged homosexual.
Videos relayed on social networks and local media show a crowd of several hundred people gathered in the night in a street around a fire. Many people filmed the scene with their cell phones.
Although very rare, the exhumation of the body of a person presented as homosexual is not a first in Senegal. In 2008 and 2009, at least two cases were documented in the center and west of the country. The Senegalese novelist Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Prix Goncourt 2021, also evokes a similar scene in his novel “De purs hommes”.
In Senegal, a more than 90% Muslim country and very practicing, homosexuality is widely considered a “deviance”. The law punishes so-called “unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” with imprisonment of one to five years.
Homosexuals have complained of an increase in attacks and homophobic remarks in recent years. They indicate that a certain number of them left the country to escape discrimination. In 2021 and 2022, thousands of people demonstrated in Dakar to demand a strengthening of the repression of homosexuality.