by Staff writer
Police have arrested 12 men, including two South Africans, apparently for promoting homosexuality in Tanzania.
The group was arrested at a hotel according to AFP.
It’s also reported that the men are currently being questioned ahead of their court appearance. It remains unclear when they were arrested.
“We arrested the criminals at Peacock Hotel – they were promoting homosexuality. Two are South Africans, one Ugandan and nine Tanzanians,” Dar es Salaam police head Lazaro Mambosasa said at a weekly press conference.
He said the 12 were being questioned ahead of being sent to a court and did not say when they had been arrested.
“Tanzania law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country’s laws,” said Mambosasa.
He added the hotel manager was among those arrested for “providing a room” for the others.
According to police, the arrests took place in a hotel where the group were undergoing training with an officially-registered international NGO, the Bridge Initiative, which works in AIDS awareness.
In February, Tanzania earned criticism notably from the United States after announcing the closure of several health centres specialising in AIDS prevention, alleging they were fronts for promoting homosexuality.
The Dar es Salaam government also vowed to deport foreigners campaigning for gay rights.
Gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment under Tanzanian law.
There is no such ban on lesbian relations.
Homosexuality is illegal in much of Africa, and is punishable by death in Mauritania, northern Nigeria, southern Somalia and Sudan.