Tanzanian police have arrested at least 10 men for suspicion of being gay on the country’s island of Zanzibar after being alerted of an alleged same-sex marriage taking place there.
The arrests come just days after an order from Dar es Salaam’s governor, Paul Makonda, to arrest all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people was walked back by the government.
“This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government’s assurance that no one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, in a statement.
The men were arrested after police raided an alleged wedding party at Pongwe Beach on Nov. 3. Authorities claim they found the men sitting in pairs “two by two.”
Currently, reports say they are being held at Chakwal police station in Unguja. Six others attending the party fled and were not detained by authorities. No charges have been brought against them.
If prosecuted, detainees could face a sentence of 30 years to life in prison under Tanzania’s colonial-era sodomy laws.
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