A human rights group says four men convicted of breaking anti-gay laws have been whipped publicly in an Islamic court in Bauchi, northern Nigeria.

The Associated Press reports the men were among dozens arrested after Nigeria strengthened laws against same-sex sexual activity in January.

Dorothy Aken’Ova of the Coalition for the Defence of Sexual Rights Network said the men will go to jail and face further beatings unless 20,000 naira (around £71) is raised and handed to authorities.

She said the men, aged between 20 and 22, should not have been convicted because their confessions were forced under physical interrogation.

Predominantly Muslim states in Nigeria introduced Sharia law, a legal system based on Islamic theory and philosophy of justice, in 2000.

It sanctions severe physical penalties for violating its code.

In January, a man received 20 lashes after an Islamic court in the northern city of Bauchi convicted him of breaking laws against same-sex activity.

The trial of several men had to be halted in the same month after a violent mob began throwing stones at the defendants.

Police were forced to use tear gas and fire shots in the air to disperse the mob, who were demanding summary trial and execution for the defendants.