Arrests of people perceived to be gay spread across Nigeria

Joseph McCormick January 17, 2014
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Following the passage of a law which further criminalises homosexuality in Nigeria, gay rights activists have said that the number of arrests is rapidly increasing across the country.

Police in Nigeria have already been accused of using torture and entrapment to compile and add to lists of men assumed to be gay, leading to arrests.

The internationally condemned law, now nicknamed the “Jail the Gays” law, was signed by President Jonathan some time earlier this month, but announcement of his approval only emerged on Monday.

In the few days since the law was signed, however, over 30 people have been arrested, with a large number coming from Nigeria’s southern Christian states.

This new attention on gay people, or those perceived to be gay, was previously centred mainly on the mostly Muslim northern states, where Sharia law has always punished gay people.

Human rights campaigners have expressed concern that charges are not specified before the arrests.

“The arrests are all over. It’s no longer just in the north,” Ifeanyi Kelly Orazulike, executive director of the Nigeria-based International Center for Advocacy on Right to Health told the Associated Press.

“Police are not telling us what the charges are, and people are scared.”

Echoing earlier reports, he said that some people had been released after being arrested, but that they had been forced to give the names of other people who may be charged under the new law.

“It’s obviously the law,” he said. “People want to leave and you don’t blame them. They are asking us about the exit choices.”

A man in northern Nigeria yesterday received 20 lashes after a Sharia court convicted him of breaking laws against same-sex activity.

Mubarak Ibrahim, 20, is among 11 Muslim men accused of violating their religion due to their alleged sexuality.

More: Africa, anti-gay law, arrests, goodluck jonathan, Law, Legal, mubarak ibrahim, Nigeria, torture, whipping

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