Mauritius: Island nation’s Supreme Court weighs constitutionality of anti-LGBT law

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11/18/2021

Nov. 16, 2021 — A crucial hearing in a case challenging the constitutionality of Section 250, brought by Abdool Ridwan Firaas Ah Seek, a 31-year-old human rights activist, took place today in the Supreme Court of Mauritius. Mr Ah Seek has been supported in his endeavour by the Collectif Arc-En-Ciel (CAEC), the largest and longest-standing organisation in Mauritius championing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The current version of Section 250 dates back to 1838 and is a relic of Mauritius’ colonial past. Those convicted under this law could face a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. Giving evidence before the Court, Abdool Ridwan Firaas Ah Seek said, ‘Because of this law, the threat of arrest hangs constantly over my head. It’s like the Sword of Damocles. I’m just a normal person, I pay my taxes. I don’t want to be considered a criminal.’ In an interview after the hearing, Gavin Glover SC, who represented Mr Ah Seek, said, ‘We are very pleased that for the first time in history the Supreme Court has heard a case challenging the constitutionality of Section 250 on its merits. This is already a great victory. Given the compelling evidence for striking down this law given by our witnesses today, I think we can be very hopeful for a positive result.’

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