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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 April, 2004, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Zanzibar outlaws homosexual acts
Zanzibar stone town
Tourism is blamed for a demise of traditional values
Zanzibar's parliament has passed a bill that outlaws homosexuality and lesbianism.

The bill imposes stiff penalties which include up to 25 years imprisonment for those in gay relationships.

The overwhelmingly Muslim Indian Ocean island is a key tourist destination on the East African coast.

The attorney-general said they were determined to prevent Zanzibari culture from being corrupted. The president is expected to approve the bill into law.

Rare union

Correspondents say the number of homosexuals and lesbians is on the rise in the Indian Ocean island.

The penalty for those in lesbian relationships will be a seven-year jail term.

A penalty of life imprisonment will be imposed on anyone found guilty of sodomising a minor.

The bill was supported by both the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Civic United Front (CUF) - a rare occasion of political unity.

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