In Gambia lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons are not accorded their basic right to simply be who they are.
Monday 10 April 2012 marked a historic day of the unrealistic denial of the diversity of sexual orientation. Seventeen young Gambian men - Alieu Sarr, Kebba Ceesay, Abdoulie Bojang, Amadou Jallow, Amidou Nyang, Ousman Gomez, Sainey Fatty, Lamin Konateh, Lamin Sarr, Buba Banda, Ebrima Jallow, Lamin Saho, Abdoulie Cham, Lamin Jaiteh, Ousman Dibba, Adboulie Saidy, and Muhammed Manneh - were remanded at the Mile 2 Central Prison on grounds of being under police investigation for having engaged in homosexual activities. An eighteenth accused man, Nigerian immigrant Ogika Amenechi, was also charged.
The seventeen Gambia nationals and Nigerian were charged with having been engaged in "indecent practice among themselves in public places" on 5 April 2012 at Serre Kunda and other places in The Gambia.
The seventeen accused, who pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, were denied bail on Monday on the grounds that they were being investigated. Even though the Magistrate who presided over the case told the court that the men were charged with a bailable offence and noted that they had been in detention since 5 April, the Police prosecutor persisted with his application for bail refusal.
The case was adjourned to 19 April 2012 for hearing. The accused were not represented during the first hearing.