NIGERIA: 38 GAYS FACE DEATH PENALTY IN BAUCHI STATE
|President of Nigeria Jonathan Goodluck
January 14, 2014: Human rights activists said Police arrested 38 gay men and were looking for 168 others in Nigeria's northern Bauchi State.
Dorothy Aken'Ova, executive director of Nigeria's International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, said police detained four gay men over the Christmas holidays and tortured them until they named others allegedly belonging to a gay organization.
Chairman Mustapha Baba Ilela of Bauchi State Sharia Commission, which oversees regulation of Islamic law, confirmed that 11 gay men had been arrested âover the past two weeksâ. He said community members helped "fish out" the suspects and that "we are on the hunt for others." Ilela said all 11 arrested â 10 Muslims and a non-Muslim â signed confessions that they belonged to a gay organization, but that some of them retracted the statements in court.
Human rights activists warned that such persecution will rise under a new Nigerian law that criminalizes gay marriage, gay organizations and anyone working with or promoting them.
The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, dubbed the "Jail the Gays" bill, was passed by the Nigerian Parliament in 2013 but not signed by the President, Goodluck Jonathan, until Â 13 January 2014, when he did so quietly and without fanfare. It provides penalties of up to 14 years in jail for a gay marriage and up to 10 years' imprisonment for membership or encouragement of gay clubs, societies and organizations. That could include even groups formed to combat AIDS among gays, activists said.
President Jonathan has not publicly expressed his views on homosexuality. But his spokesman, Reuben Abati, told the Associated Press on 13 January, "This is a law that is in line with the people's cultural and religious inclination. So it is a law that is a reflection of the beliefs and orientation of Nigerian people. ... Nigerians are pleased with it." (Sources: AP, 14/01/2014)