ï»ï¿½ Comoros arrests two women said to be seeking to wed

Comoros arrests two women said to be seeking to wed

/ 04:30 PM June 09, 2024

Comoros arrests two women said to be seeking to wed

Boats sits on Plage de Moya south of city of Mutsamudu, the capital of Anjouan in the Comoros Archipelago. FILE PHOTO/Agence France-Presse

MORONI, Comoros — Two alleged lesbians said to be seeking to get married have been arrested in the Comoros, where same-sex relationships are forbidden, a prosecutor said Saturday.

The pair are being detained in a prison in the Indian Ocean archipelago’s capital Moroni pending a court appearance, and could face up to two years imprisonment or a 600-euro fine.

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“They were presented to the public prosecutor on June 8 for acts unanimously considered to be be unnatural and contrary to public decency,” prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid said.

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Home to an 870,000-strong mainly Muslim population, the Comoros introduced legislation against same-sex sexual activity in 1981, six years after  independence from France.

According to global LGBT rights group The Human Dignity Trust, the law is in practice “largely obsolete” and there is little evidence that it is regularly enforced.

But, speaking to AFP, Djounaid said the allegations against the women seem to have surfaced following controversy over a lesbian wedding in neighbouring Mayotte.

READ: Pope: Africans are ‘special case’ when it comes to LGBT blessings

The fourth island in the Comoros chain, Mayotte chose to remain a French overseas territory when the other three islands gained independence in 1975.

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The Comoros continues to claim sovereignty over Mayotte which lies 70 kilometers (43 miles) away across the ocean, and the peoples maintain family and cultural ties.

Same-sex marriage is permitted in France and last month two women were married in a civil ceremony on Mayotte, triggering a wave of controversy in the religiously conservative Comoros.

Rumours started spreading this week in the Comoros that two women had asked a Muslim religious judge to oversee their marriage, but Djounaid said that this did not seem to be the case.

“The investigation did not establish that they had gone to a local preacher to ask him to marry them,” the press release said.

Nevertheless, it adds: “It is well established that these two girls were in a loving relationship with each other and that they have been living together for almost two years.”

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Speaking to AFP after the announcement, the prosector said a male accuser had told a preacher that the two women planned to seek his blessing, triggering the investigation.

TAGS: Comoros, LGBTQ

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