Four men were publically whipped in an Islamic court in Northern Nigeria as punishment for being convicted of having gay sex.
The men, aged 20 to 22, were sentenced and punished Mar. 6. The sentence called for 15 strokes and a fine of $120. Failure to pay the fine will result in a year’s imprisonment, Al Jazeera reports.
Dorothy Aken’Ova, the convenor of the Coalitition of the Defense of Sexual Rights Network, said the men were forced to lay facedown on the floor to have their bottoms whipped.
Aken’Ova told Al Jazeera the convictions should not have been made because the men’s confessions were forced through beatings.
The men’s families refused an offer of legal representation and were embarrassed by the men’s actions, Aken’Ova said.
According to Aken’Ova, the judge said his sentence was lenient because the men promised their actions were in the past and would not be repeated.
The hearings in Bauchi city were delayed in January after a crowd tried to stone the men to death outside the courthouse, demanding the judge pass the death sentence.
The crowd did not disperse until security officials fired shots into the air.
Homosexuality in Northern Nigeria
Homosexuality is considered a Western evil by many highly religious Northern Nigerians. Under Sharia law, homosexuals can be sentenced to death in some Northern Nigeria states, but this measure has not yet been taken.
The four men were among dozens of Nigerians arrested after the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was implemented in January, increasing criminal penalties for homosexuality.
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