May 04 2009 at 05:43PM
Dakar - Senegalese villagers dug up the body of a man at the weekend, saying he was gay and that they did not want him buried in a Muslim cemetery, police said Monday.
Police in the village of Thies, in the west of the country, were called out after villagers exhumed the body.
The man, born in Dakar in 1975, had died in hospital on Saturday of natural causes, said a police officer in the village.
"But after his burial the same day in a Muslim cemetery, four people dug him up. The deceased was considered homosexual," the officer said.
"We intervened and the people dispersed. The parents (of the deceased) put the body in the tomb," the officer added.
But overnight a group of people once again dug up the body and dumped it in front of the parents' home, the officer added.
"The father took the body for burial elsewhere."
The affair, which made front-page news here Monday, amid a backlash following the release of nine men jailed for homosexuality.
The men were freed on April 20 following an international outcry from rights groups.
Last week, a group of Muslim religious leaders in Dakar announced they had set up an Islamic Front for the Defence of Ethical Values in response to the ruling.
Several imams denounced homosexuals in violent terms, one even calling for them to be "eliminated from life."
A number of newspapers and radio stations also denounced the men as "vicious" and "perverts" in the days following their release.
Rights group Amnesty International said some broadcasters had called on the population to attack and throw stones at anyone they suspected of being homosexual.
Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal where 95 percent of the population is Muslim. Homosexual acts are punishable by up to five years in prison.
In the summer of 2008, local people in the central village of Guinguineo profaned the tomb of a man they considered to be gay, saying they would not have him buried there. - Sapa-AFP