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4 men whipped in Nigeria court for having gay sex

The men face 1-year imprisonment and further violence if they fail to pay the US$120 fine meted out by the Islamic court
Man with whip

Four men were publicly whipped in a courtroom in northern Nigeria on Thursday after being convicted of having gay sex.

Quoting a human rights activist with the Nigeria-based International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, the Associate Press reported that the four were among dozens caught in a wave of arrests after Nigeria strengthened its criminal penalties for homosexuality with the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in January.

The men were sentenced to 15 strokes and the option of a US$120 fine or a year’s imprisonment by an Islamic court in the northern city of Bauchi.

Dorothy Aken’Ova told the Associated Press the men may face further violence in prison.
She said the men, who are between 20 and 22 years old, were beaten before they confessed. The men were later forced to prostate themselves on the floor of a regional court to be whipped.

She added that the judge said he had been lenient because the men had promised that the homosexual acts occurred in the past and that they had since repented.

Most states in the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria have adopted Islamic law, known as Sharia, since the end of military rule in 1999.

Homosexuality can carry the death penalty under Shariah law in some northern Nigerian states although it’s typically not enforced.

The BBC reported that although details about the latest case are sketchy, its reporter in Bauchi, Ishaq Khalid, says court officials have confirmed the whippings.

The case was first heard last month but was disrupted when an angry crowd demanded the death sentence for the four.

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