In connection with the ongoing Burundi crackdown on same-sex relationships, a court on Thursday charged 24 people—17 males and 7 women—for “gay acts” after they were detained by police on February 23.

The 24 people who were detained at a seminar in Gitega hosted by the non-profit organization MUCO Burundi, which focuses on HIV/AIDS, came after the nation criminalized homosexuality in 2009 and imposed prison terms of up to two years for consenting same-sex conduct where they were charged with promoting homosexuality in the country.

“The public prosecutor accused the 24 with homosexual acts and inciting homosexual acts after questioning them for nearly ten days,” said, Armel Niyongere, head of the human rights group ACAT Burundi.

According to sources, the neighbors informed the police about was going on at the MUCO event because they were concerned about the presence of teenagers who were present, prompting the police to investigate where they reported finding used condoms and making an arrest on suspicion of indecent sexual activities.

In his address to the nation, President Evariste Ndayishimiye asked the people to put an end to homosexual behaviors and act since even God opposes and cannot endure them. He added that individuals who engage in these acts should be exiled and treated as though they are not one of them.

“Because God cannot tolerate homosexuality, I implore all Burundians to curse those who practice it. They must be exiled and treated as outcasts in our nation,” he said.

March 9, 2023

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