News Brief: 53 People Face Criminal Charges for Attending a Gay Wedding

by Aaron Shepard
in News
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News Brief 53 People Arrested Gay Wedding Nigeria

News Brief 53 People Arrested Gay Wedding Nigeria

News Brief:  53 People Face Criminal Charges for Attending a Gay Wedding

53 people are facing criminal charges in Nigeria after police claimed they attended a same-sex wedding.

Homosexuality has long been illegal in Nigeria, but a 2013 law moved beyond simply targeting gay sex:  extending the provisions to criminalize all forms of same-sex unions and clamp down on the LGBT community.  Under the law, people who enter any form of same-sex union are liable for 14 years imprisonment, while people who “witness, abet and aids the solemnization of a same sex marriage or civil union” can face up to 10 years in jail.

The BBC reports that police in the country this month carried out a raid on an alleged ceremonial same-sex wedding in the city of Zaria.  According to the broadcaster, 53 people were arrested and have been charged with conspiring to celebrate a same-sex wedding.

Defence lawyer Yunusa Umar said most of the accused were students, and claimed they had been celebrating a birthday and not a same-sex union.

A court heard that the arrestees were poorly treated by authorities, and had been illegally detained for more than 24 hours.

Maria Sjodin of OutRight Action International told NBC: “Only the police claim that it was a wedding party.  The police are using the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act as an excuse for mass arrests, maybe even as a way to get bribes.  The Nigerian [anti-LGBT] law is much more far reaching than just same-sex marriage, it really is a way to crack down on anyone advocating for human rights of LGBT people.”