A Nigerian Sharia court has released two men accused of breaking anti-gay laws, saying the prosecution failed to prove its case.

The Associated Press reports the two released men were among 12 detained in northern Bauchi state in January.

Seven of the the twelve men were released last month in secret by two Islamic courts.

On Tuesday, the judge freed a 29-year-old street vendor and a 21-year-old artisan.

Four others were convicted on 6 March, fined 20,000 naira (£73) each and given 15 lashes with a horse whip as what the judge termed a discretionary “correctional punishment”.

The trials have been held in secret after a mob tried to lynch the men at a court hearing, demanding they be stoned to death.

Nigeria strengthened laws against same-sex sexual activity in January by banning same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection.