Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to slit the throats of gay men living in the West African nation.
Gambia’s notorious dictator has ruled the country since 1994, and the 49-year-old recently issued a public speech on the subject of “fostering a healthy atmosphere” for Gambia’s youth.
“If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat — if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it,” he said in the Wolof language to a crowd in the town of Farafeni.
Gambia’s unforgiving stance on gay rights is infamous, its government has approved legislation condemning gay acts as “aggravated homosexuality” – the accused for this crime could face up to a lifetime in prison. Prior to this additional legislation homosexuality was still illegal and carried a hefty 14 year sentence, Jammeh ignored the international outcry.
“We remain concerned about ongoing reports of forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests, including of journalists, human rights advocates, and civil servants, as well as continued calls by senior officials for the persecution of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” White House Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement in December.
Shortly after the US government issued this statement they cut Gambia out of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a long standing trade agreement approved by congress back in 2000. Its two-fold purpose was to improve the economic relations between America and sub-Saharan Africa, whilst providing an economic stimulus.