When a video clip of a birthday party in Mauritania was posted to social media and wrongly perceived to be a same-sex wedding, authorities rounded up ten men in the video and arrested them.
“The prosecutor’s office sent the young homosexual delinquents to prison to await judgment for acts contrary to morality, committing acts forbidden by Allah and circulating a ceremony of debauchery,” a source told Agence France-Presse.
Even though police later determined the event in the video was a birthday party, the men remain incarcerated with no trial date scheduled.
Mauritania, located in northwest Africa, is governed by strict Islamic law known as Shariah.
Article 308 of Mauritania’s criminal code prohibits same-sex behavior between Muslim adults calling such relations as “acts against nature.”
In more than half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, homosexuality is illegal and can be punishable by the death penalty although Amnesty International reports no executions have been carried out in more than a decade.
AFP reports that although investigators established the party was “the birthday party of a homosexual,” the ten men were detained “to help investigations.”
Brahim Bilal, the president of a human rights organization in Mauritania, said in a statement the arrests were “a serious attack on the individual and collective freedom of these young people who have the right to display their difference and intimate preferences.”
Watch the video which began the ordeal below.