- January 16, 2014
Post submitted by Jane WothayaThirikwa, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
The new anti-LGBT law enacted earlier this week by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has resulted in a witch-hunt for gay people, leading to arrests of dozens of suspected gay men. Emboldened by the new law, Islamic police in the northern state of Bauchi has arrested over two dozen men and put to trial, 11 Muslim men accused of being homosexual, or belonging to a gay organization. According to BBC News, one man received 20 lashes after he was convicted him of homosexual offences.
The law bans same-sex marriage, and openly gay and lesbian Nigerians could face prison sentences of up to 14 years for engaging in same-sex “amorous relationships.” Any person who supports or registers, operates or participates in gay societies and organizations is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.
The new federal legislation applies across Nigeria, but the predominantly Muslim northern states have adopted Islamic Sharia Law. If convicted, the accused could be sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia Law.
The new law, in Africa’s most populous country, further criminalizes LGBT people who already face high levels of discrimination in an already hostile social and legal context. It denies LGBT people fundamental human rights as freedom of association and free speech along with rights to non-discrimination and rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.