Persecution Alert

53 arrested in Nigeria for alleged same-sex wedding

20 April 2017

Nigerian police have reportedly arrested 53 young men who were allegedly participating in a gay wedding and charged them with "belonging to a gang of unlawful society."

Prosecuting officer Mannir Nasir told a court on Wednesday that the young men were arrested Saturday in the northern city of Zaria while attending a party organized for two men who got married last week.

Allegations of same-sex marriage are often used by police in Nigeria to crackdown against LGBT people. The authorities are using the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act 2014 as an excuse for mass arrests. While on the face of it, this legislation only prohibits same-sex marriage, our briefing note explains that this Nigerian legislation is much more far reaching than just same-sex marriage, and is in fact a form of ‘enhanced criminalisation’ that affects anyone advocating for human rights of LGBT people.

The 53 arrested men pleaded not guilty to charges that also included conspiracy and unlawful assembly. They were granted bail, and their next hearing has been set for 8 May 2017.

Gay rights campaigners have claimed that the accused were arrested at a birthday party, not a wedding.

See: BBC, Nigeria ‘gay wedding’ bust leads to charges, 20 April 2017 


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