Eighteen men and two women who were being prosecuted for homosexuality in The Gambia have been freed after the charges were dropped.

In April, following a tip-off, officers from the Kotu Police Station raided the Elite Fitness Centre in Kololi and reportedly found a group of men dressed as women putting on a dance show for tourists.

The men and the two women were arrested and charged with committing “unnatural offences” and “conspiracy to commit a felony contrary to the Laws of The Gambia”.

They pleaded not guilty. After months of court hearings, prosecutors on Wednesday finally decided to drop the charges. The motion to dismiss the case was granted by presiding Magistrate Sheriff Tabally.

“We are grateful that the prosecution has finally realised that they have no case in court,” Badou Conteh, who represented some of the accused, told JollofNews.

Article 144 of The Gambia’s 1965 Criminal Code criminalises homosexual conduct as an “unnatural offence” and provides for a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

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