BANJUL, Gambia -- A court in Gambia has arrested 18 people and accused them of organizing an "indecent" dance ceremony for tourists.
The 18 men each pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of "indecent practice contrary to the law of the country."
The criminal charge is applied toward people who are accused of taking part in homosexual acts in Gambia.
In 2008, President Yahya Jammeh told gays and lesbians to leave the country or have their heads cut off.
Gays and lesbians face threats of violence and discrimination across the continent.
In western Africa, legislators in Liberia and Nigeria are also trying to pass laws that would increase the legal penalties for homosexuality in those countries.