A Tanzanian woman could be facing jail time after a video of her kissing another woman, and presenting her with a ring, went viral on social media.
“I can confirm that a Tanzanian woman is under police custody over that video clip. We will issue more details later after we conclude our investigation,” Geita police chief Mponjoli Mwabulambo told Reuters.
Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, and there has been a tougher crackdown on LGBT activists and arrests since President John Magufuli came into power two years ago.
“Both of them should be arrested. Why did the woman accept an engagement ring from another woman?” tweeted Cosmas Alele, a resident of Kagera, a town in Tanzania.
This is just the latest instance this year of arresting members of the LGBT community in Tanzania. Back in October a group of 13 activists and lawyers were thrown in jail for attempting to protect health initiatives against HIV.
A meeting between the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and Community Health Services and Advocacy (CHESA) was raided by police as they were trying to prep a case against the government. The group was making plans to fight against the country’s ban on drop-in centers that serve those most at risk of contracting HIV, and another ban on the importation of water-based lubes that help prevent the virus.
In September, police in Tanzania arrested eight men and 12 women at a hotel where they were attending an HIV/AIDS education training session.
“Yes, we rounded them up because we suspect that they were engaged in homosexuality, which is illegal,” a police spokesperson claimed at the time. “We will intensify vigilance against those groups.”
The Health Ministry previously closed dozens of AIDS clinics, claiming NGOs were using them to promote gay sex.
In the East African country “gross indecency” between men carries a five-year prison sentence, while a conviction of a sexual act “against the order of nature” can lead to up to 30 years behind bars. It was believed that there was no prohibition on lesbianism, but the woman’s recent arrest from the viral video proves otherwise.