Two Rwandan lesbians attempting to travel to an African lesbian rights conference in Maputo have been arrested at Kigali airport, reports Behind the Mask (BTM).

The women, Nyirahabimana Salma and Umutoni Fatoumata, were to attend a conference at the end of February titled “Building Lesbian Feminist Thinkers and Leaders for the 21st century” in the Mozambican capital, which was hosted by The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) and LAMBDA.

According to the site’s French reporter, Abeli Zahabu, the two human rights activists were detained two weeks ago on official claims that they forged documents and were not in possession of valid visas to enter Mozambique.

Zahabu points out however that the conference organisers had provided the women with invitation letters that could have allowed them to obtain visas at the entry point in Maputo.

“LAMBDA has an agreement with immigration services in Maputo, according to which our guests could get their visas at the airport in Maputo. Those invitation forms were provided to us by the immigration officers. There is no way they could be forged”, LAMBDA coordinator Danilo Da Silva told BTM.

Other activists have suggested that the two women were detained because of their sexual orientation. They have appeared in court and their case will be further investigated by the authorities.

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