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Gambia Passes Bill to Imprison Gays for Life

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Life for LGBT men and women in the West African county of Gambia just got significantly more difficult, as lawmakers passed a piece of legislation Monday that would impose terms of life in prison on people convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”

The bill defines aggravated homosexuality as “repeat offenders,” people with HIV/AIDS, and instances in which one of the parties is under 18, disabled, drugged or an authority figure over the other party, the Associated Press reports.

The bill, which was passed by the National Assembly last month, amends a criminal code that already included a harsh penalty—up to 14 years in prison—for homosexual acts, applicable to both men and women.

The bill now awaits the signature of autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a coup in 1994 and made headlines in 2008 when he publicly instructed gays to leave Gambia or face decapitation.


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