TW talk of violence and torture.
Two men from Mali who were going to be executed for having gay sex have been saved.
France, as well as other African nations and including Mali’s army, intervened to end a ten month rebellion by groups of Tuareg tribes and Islamist extremists.
The groups have taken over most of Northern Mali, including the town of Gao enforcing Sharia law, punishing thieves with amputation and executing gays.
One of the men, named Badou Ahmed, told Reuters’ reporters yesterday (3 January) he was arrested after being accused of having gay sex but was able to walk free when the French-led troops took over Gao.
Ahmed is covered with scars and walks with a limp, which he reported was a result of being beaten unconscious by the militias.
Ahmed said he had not been allowed to present witnesses at his trial and his captors had threatened to cut his throat for being gay.
Alitiin Ag Oussman, a second man, was awaiting execution on the same charge, was freed a day before it was due to be carried out.
Same-sex activity is legal in Mali, but a recent 2007 report has found that 98% of adults believe homosexuality is unaccaptable.
Omar Kuddus, a Muslim LGBT rights advocate based in the UK, said: ‘As I have stated on numerous occasions, homosexuality is not illegal or forbidden in the Quran, it is not condemned as haram.
‘Fundamental Islamists, having been indoctrinated by religious leaders who impose their own views and interpretations on homosexuality have become obsessed with the idea and this impels them to commit such atrocities and crimes against humanity.
‘If the French led forces had not rescued, found and freed these two Malian men who were about to be executed today, their plight and deaths would have gone unnoticed.
‘The question must be asked, of how many other gay men are executed, tortured, in the false name of Islam, without this being reported or noticed.
‘Muslims must be reminded and educated that only Allah can pass judgement, not mere mortal men, and that Islam is a religion of compassion and forgiveness, not of murder’.