najeeb ahmad Fokeerbux. Photo via Facebook

A law in Mauritius, a small island off Africa’s coast, makes gay sex a crime. Complainants are challenging the law, saying it promotes homophobia and violence against LGBT people. 

Under the law “sodomy” is punishable by up to five years in prison, according to Reuters. Najeeb Ahmad Fokeerbux, founder of Young Queer Alliance and lead complainant in the case, says that gay and bisexual men face violence because of the law, and are discriminated against in school.

“We know that homophobia won’t end with the law being scrapped. But it’s a step in the right direction,” he said, according to Reuters. “All we want is the same rights are everyone else. The right to choose the partner we want. The right to have the freedom to love who we want. The right to live with them in dignity.”

A Mauritius gay pride parade was forcably cancelled last year because of violence and death threats, Fokeerbux said.