Nigeria frees on bail 69 arrested over alleged gay wedding
20/09/2023 21:18 in Africa News
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A Nigerian court has extended bail for 69 people arrested last month in a police operation targeting what authorities called "gay marriage". The development underscores the ongoing debate surrounding homosexuality in Nigeria, where public opinion largely views it as morally unacceptable.
Nigeria has strict laws against same-sex marriage, and these arrests highlight the difficult environment for LGBTQ+ people in the country. To secure their release, the defendants, as ordered by the court, must each pay an amount in excess of $600 (£480).
The incident occurred in the town of Warri, where law enforcement acted on information allegedly about a same-sex marriage. However, the handling of the case has drawn criticism from Human Rights Watch, which expressed concern about the suspects' public parading before the media and the harsh questioning of the suspects. allegations. Nearly ten years ago, Nigeria notably passed a law criminalising public disclosure of same-sex relations, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to 14 years for those convicted of same-sex marriage. Despite international opposition, these laws remain in effect.
In a related case from 2019, Lagos State police prosecuted 47 men under this law. However, the court dismissed the case due to the police's failure to appear and produce witnesses, highlighting the complex legal landscape surrounding LGBTQ+ rights in Nigeria.