Sophia Johnson
Mon, Sep 4, 2023 11:15 PM

Nigeria Remands More Than 60 Suspects Arrested in Alleged Gay Wedding

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Nigeria Remands More Than 60 Suspects Arrested in Alleged Gay Wedding
More than 60 people arrested in Nigeria in connection with an alleged gay wedding have been remanded in prison. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and is generally viewed as unacceptable in most parts of Africa. The suspects are facing charges related to allegations of celebrating a gay wedding. The court has granted a remand request from the police, and the next hearing is scheduled for September 18. A 2014 anti-gay law in Nigeria includes a prison term of up to 14 years for those convicted and bans gay marriage, same-sex relationships, and membership of gay rights groups.

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - More than 60 people arrested last week in Nigeria in connection with an alleged gay wedding, which is illegal in the country, have been remanded in prison, the police and their lawyer said on Monday.

The court granted a remand request from the police following a hearing on Monday in the southern city of Warri in Delta state, where the suspects were arrested following a tipoff.

"The suspects have been arraigned in court today and the judge has ruled that they be remanded in prison for two weeks," Delta state police said in a statement. It did not say how many had been remanded, but police last week said 67 people had been arrested.

In Nigeria, like in most parts of Africa, homosexuality is generally viewed as unacceptable, and a 2014 anti-gay law took effect despite international condemnation.

Defence lawyer Ochuko Ohimor, who is representing 60 suspects, said that while the next hearing will come up on Sept 18, he is working to get bail for the suspects.

He put the total number of those remanded at 69, adding they are facing charges connected to allegations that they were celebrating a gay wedding.

"All we are doing now is to bring up bail applications on their behalf... if it is found meritorious it (the court) can admit them to bail. The bail application can come before the expiration of the 14-day remand order," he said.

The anti-gay law in Africa's most populous nation includes a prison term of up to 14 years for those convicted and bans gay marriage, same-sex relationships, and membership of gay rights groups.

This incident once again highlights the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in many parts of Africa, where deep-rooted cultural and religious beliefs contribute to the stigmatization and discrimination of individuals based on their sexual orientation.

The Nigerian anti-gay law, which is heavily criticized by human rights organizations, has been a topic of debate both nationally and internationally. Advocates argue that the law violates basic human rights and infringes on individuals' freedom to love and express their sexuality.

While Nigeria is not the only country in Africa with strict laws against homosexuality, its enforcement has drawn significant attention. The arrests made in connection with the alleged gay wedding underscore the lengths the Nigerian authorities are willing to go to curb same-sex relationships and activities.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria face immense challenges, including societal rejection, discrimination, and even violence. The criminalization of homosexuality makes it difficult for individuals to live authentically and openly express their identities.

Activists and human rights organizations are pushing for the decriminalization of homosexuality and the protection of LGBTQ+ rights in Nigeria and across Africa. They argue that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

As the court proceedings unfold in this particular case, it remains to be seen how the defendants will be treated and what impact it will have on the ongoing discussions around LGBTQ+ rights in Nigeria and the continent as a whole.

It is crucial for societies to foster greater understanding, empathy, and acceptance of diversity. Human rights should be upheld, and equal rights should be extended to all individuals, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-04 News

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