More Than 50 People Arrested For Attending “Gay Wedding” In Nigeria

The men were charged with "belonging to a gang of unlawful society."

Dozens of Nigerians were arrested in the northern city of Zaria for “conspiring” to celebrate a same-sex wedding in a motel.

In all 53 people, mostly male students, were charged on Saturday with conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and “belonging to a gang of unlawful society.” According to their defense lawyer, the suspects were detained for more than 24 hours, in violation of Nigerian law.

Kenyan gay and lesbian organisations demonstrate outside the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi on February 7, 2014. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 had signed a bill into law against gay marriage and civil partnerships. The Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2013 imposes penalties of up to 14 years' imprisonment for anyone found to have entered in to such a union. Anyone who founds or supports gay groups or clubs also runs the risk of a maximum 10-year jail term. The legislation, which effectively reinforces existing laws banning homosexuality in Nigeria, has been widely condemned abroad as draconian and against a raft of human rights conventions. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA        (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Simon Maina/AFP/Getty

Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, and in 2014, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan pushed through the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which effectively banned marriage equality in Nigeria and criminalized public displays of affection by gay couples. The act also imposes harsh penalties on any organizations advocating for LGBT rights or operating gay clubs. Violations can result in up to 14 years in prison.

Nonetheless some couples still conduct informal wedding ceremonies in secret.

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