The U.S. State Department has condemned the decision by Gambia's president to approve a law imposing life imprisonment for some homosexual acts.

In a statement Monday, Jeff Rathke, director of press relations, said the State Department is also concerned about reports of arrests this month of at least four men, a 17-year-old boy and nine women accused of committing homosexual acts.

Amnesty International alleges the suspects have been tortured.

Homosexual acts were already illegal in Gambia before lawmakers approved a law in August punishing "aggravated homosexuality" with life in prison. The term targets "serial offenders" and people living with HIV/AIDS, among others.

President Yahya Jammeh signed the law on Oct. 9, though no announcement has been made. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the signed law last week.