File photo | Al Jazeera/EPA | 17019
Ivory Coast’s authorities have refused to explain why Yann and Abdoul, two gay men, were sentenced to 18 months in prison in November 2016, as homosexuality is supposed to be legal there.
This is the first time gay men have been prosecuted for acts related to their sexuality in Ivory Coast.
Yann and Abdoul were arrested in October last year after Abdoul’s uncle, who walked in on the pair having sex, filed a complaint for “public indecency” with the gendarmerie.
In court, the men admitted the facts, stating that they had been lovers for a long time and that they did not see how their conduct constituted an offence.
The prosecutor accused the pair of an “unnatural and indecent act”, arguing that sexual intercourse between people of the same sex should be “sanctioned”.
Gay couples can be prosecuted for public acts of indecency. Speaking from Sassandra prison, Yann said the pair were “convicted in an unjust manner”. “If there is no law that that condemns it, I don’t understand how we could have been convicted.”