5 women arrested under Senegal's anti-gay law, highlighting pressure on suspected lesbians

A women's rights activist says Senegalese police have detained five women accused of violating the country's anti-gay law, highlighting increased pressure on suspected lesbians.

Ndeye Kebe, president of the activist group Women's Smile, said Tuesday the women were arrested early Monday morning at a piano bar in Dakar's Yoff district. The oldest of the suspects, 31-year-old Sene Dieng, is an assistant director at Women's Smile, the only group in Senegal to advocate for lesbians' rights.

Homosexual acts are punishable by up to five years in prison in Senegal. At a press conference in Dakar with United States President Barack Obama in June, Senegalese President Macky Sall insisted that gays were not persecuted_a claim that human rights activists strongly dispute.

The five women were expected to appear in court Tuesday.