The law used to persecute gays, Article 219, was put in place by the French during colonial times, and it still exists in all of their former African colonies, though somehow not in Burkina. It's actively enforced in Senegal. Z gave me the example of two of his friends who were arrested on trumped up charges of public sex while they were sitting together in a park that had a reputation of being a cruising spot. The possible punishment is between 1 month and 2 years in prison, and they were both condemned to 2 years. They weren't even allowed to speak in their own defense at the tribunal. Z told me that nobody bothers to refute the judgements because the society's attitude is, "They're gays, they deserve it." Z's organization also helps its members who are AIDS patients find people who will agree to treat them, because they're often refused treatment at local hospitals or clinics. Even organizations like Amnesty International have offered nothing but sympathy for these injustices, claiming that if they help the gay community it would sully their relations with the government would harm their capacity for addressing other abuses.
It's like some weird perversion of O'Sullivan's Law.