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Nigeria gay crackdown: 1 man flogged, 10 others face possible death by stoning

Thursday, January 16, 2014

BAUCHI, Nigeria — An Islamic court in northern Nigeria has convicted one man and sentenced him to 20 lashes for having sex with another man, and 10 Muslim men could face death by stoning if also convicted of the crime of homosexuality.

Sharia Commission court entrance in Bauchi, Nigeria.

Mubarak Ibrahim, 28, was ordered to lie on a bench while the 20 lashes were administered in front of a packed courtroom.

He said he was misled into the act of sodomy by the principal of the high school he was attending and has not committed a homosexual act since.

Judge Nuhu Mohammed said spared Ibrahim the sentence of death by stoning because the crime occurred so many years ago and because the young man had shown “great remorse.”

Ibrahim also was ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 naira ($30). It was not immediately clear if he had been able to pay and go free.

Though Ibrahim was found guilty under Shariah law, it is the first conviction of a gay man in Nigeria since President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill that further criminalizes homosexuality under the West African nation’s Western-style penal code.

Activists believe the new law has whipped up homophobia and endangers gay people in a country where lynchings and mob justice are common.

But the Muslim Rights Concern group on Thursday said it was “the other way round as the practice of homosexualism and lesbianism is most capable of instigating widespread hatred and turning society upside down.”

It praised Jonathan for resisting pressures from Western powers that have condemned the law and urged them to stop what it called meddling in Nigerian internal affairs. “Most reprehensible is the attempt by foreign power s to intimidate and coerce Nigeria into absorbing their despicable culture by threatening to withhold foreign aid,” it said.

Ibrahim was among 12 men – 11 Muslims and one Christian – who have been arrested by police since Christmas for belonging to a gay club.

Dorothy Aken’Ova, a human rights activist whose organization is helping with lawyers, said police had lured four of the men, then tortured them into providing a list of 168 wanted gay men.

Shariah Commission chairman Mustapha Baba Ilela has denied any of those arrested were tortured. He told The Associated Press that police were hunting for other members of a gay club, but would not say how many.

Jibrin Danlami Hassan, the commissioner of Bauchi state’s Sharia Commission, said residents of Bauchi city arrested the local men.

They were handed to the Islamic police force, which interrogated them, he said.

“They accept that they are doing that dirty game,” Hassan told the BBC.

The Muslim men, accused of violating Islamic law because the are gay, could be sentenced to death by stoning if found guilty. Their trial has been adjourned until Jan. 23.

The Christian man is to be tried under Nigeria’s federal civil law that includes the recently enacted anti-gay bill; he could face a maximum penalty of 14-years imprisonment.

Same-sex acts are illegal in the federal system of Nigeria, but are punished in different states in varying degrees of severity. The federal civil law punishes gay sex with 14 years imprisonment, but twelve of the northern states operate Islamic Sharia law that includes punishments such as flogging and death by stoning.

Nigerian gay rights advocate Davis Mac-Iyalla told LGBTQ Nation that the new federal law “has initiated a beginning of legally sanctioned persecution and witch-hunt towards Nigeria’s LGBT community.”

Mac-Iyalla said that historically, northern states of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara have rarely applied Sharia law towards LGBT people, but the new law is being interpreted as giving a license to do so.

“The situation throughout Nigeria is worsening by the day. I’ve just been contacted by two brothers in their 30s who have went into hiding in Lagos,” he said. “Vigilante groups are hunting them down, asking for huge ransoms.”

“Nigeria is now legally sanctioning and its laws are encouraging persecution by both the state and its citizens against LGBT people,” said Mac-Iyalla.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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84 more reader comments:

  1. Disgusting. Back to the dark ages. How you can think that’s ok is beyond me. :(

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:20pm
  2. I hate this country. It makes North Korea look better.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:21pm
  3. …death by stoning!!! These are no humans these are monsters :-((

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:21pm
  4. primitive!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:22pm
  5. God be with all of them.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:22pm
  6. This is a clear case of human rights violations that needs to be stopped. This kind of behavior is completely barbaric.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:22pm
  7. Brutality.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:22pm
  8. dumbass countries, giving too much power to the weak minded!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:22pm
  9. Absolutely any aid given to Nigeria Government should be halted.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:23pm
  10. Sickening that this could be going on in 2013. There will be a special place in Hell for the American Evangelicals who are actively supporting this.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:25pm
  11. I could not agree more, we should find them here and and do the same to them.

    Replied on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:12pm
  12. Thanks Bobby, I don't think most Americans know how deeply embroiled in Africa many of the American evangelical and fundamentalist "churches" are. I would urge national LGBT groups such as HRC and Lamba Legal to publicize this more so the world knows who is behind these heinous laws.

    Replied on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:17pm
  13. And the worst part of this tale? Not one single thing we can do to stop it.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:27pm
  14. Human Rights Campaign, United Nations, do something, please. This is barbaric.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:28pm
  15. Is fucking barbaric !!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:30pm
  16. It is such a shame that this is happening right now I can’t believe people seriously think that this will stop you from being a LGBT person if anything it just makes things way worse for everyone. I hope that maybe one day the ignorance of others will not hinder the happiness of everyone else in the world this is so sad and depressing to see.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:31pm
  17. Horrible, where’s the UN??? but ya’ll know there are those right here in the USA that would do the same thing today if they had a chance.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:32pm
  18. Everyone wants be say “No I’m totes cool with gays lol” but they really don’t understand how serious the situation is and when they lean they do nothing to stop it or even speak out. You won’t hear one person talking about the terror going on in Russia or here.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:37pm
  19. Horrific…..these insect eating bastards should be stoned themselves…..please send in the drones.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:44pm
  20. Thank you, USA evangelicals.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:45pm
  21. God bless our brothers&sisters everywhere in the world they are not safe.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:47pm
  22. Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:47pm
  23. United nations, western powers, united states=spineless, heartless, disgusting pigs

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:53pm
  24. NO AID FOR NIGERIA!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:56pm
  25. I really frustrate this news. Kick out from UN.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:59pm
  26. FU Nigeria…. We Are Everywhere… :*

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:00pm
  27. the so-called leaders are worse than the meanest and wildest animals...

    Replied on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:01pm
  28. sure makes me glad i live in a more civilized country instead of some third world cess pool living by ancient and ignorant fears

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:07pm
  29. what a unrational place, very sad.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:11pm
  30. Stone Parliment!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:20pm
  31. So this is how jungle bunnies live?

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:21pm
  32. Don’t they all just fuck each other anyway?

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:22pm
  33. and meanwhile, the wealthy upper class men are on the down low and never bothered ! since they are married and have children !!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:26pm
  34. If I am out of line, tell me! But I know my friends know I am deliberately being as abhorrent as possible to prove a point!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:29pm
  35. Sad day

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:32pm
  36. I am not one to lightly advocate use of force to solve problems… but Nigeria’s leaders need to be removed from the equation permanently.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:38pm
  37. Remember it’s all for Jesus. What about stoning those who get divorced? Guess they didn’t read that part of the Bible.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:38pm
  38. The Koran is very strict on the topic of homosexuality. In fact, the punishment for the act is written in the text. I think we should all take time to pray. And, be with our brothers and sisters in the 'spirit'. Just as Jesus did, we should bare that pain.

    Replied on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:28pm
  39. Let's hope they'll reconsider. And forgive even the judges.

    Replied on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:28pm
  40. FUCK RELIGIOUS SCUM…

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:41pm
  41. people miss read the bible. J esus did not teach us to hate.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:48pm
  42. Don’t wait for hell to deal with those fundamentalists. Deal with them now

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:50pm
  43. This countrys leaders need to be stoned and flogged to death.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:52pm
  44. Only in the Islamic/Muslim areas (for now).

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:00pm
  45. Cut all funding leading to these places.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:00pm
  46. I really wish there was something more I can do to help besides “sharing”!! True human beings can’t ignore this!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:02pm
  47. Completely inhumane by sentencing someone to death in such a manor, and by stoning, for being gay. This a big example on their human rights violations.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:18pm
  48. And I just read that the U.K. is increasing its aid to Nigeria. I think it’s time to call out every government or corporation who is doing business with Nigeria or any other country legislating murderous hatred towards LGBT people. Sanctions. Boycotts. Petitions. It’s up to us.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:19pm
  49. …..sounds like the GOP to me!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:28pm
  50. Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:34pm
  51. Now THAT is what HATE looks like…

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:37pm
  52. I wish facebook had a DISLIKE THUMB! These are human beings! I DISLIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING FOR BEING GAY!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:43pm
  53. There’s something you don’t see often. An entire country full of assholes.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:44pm
  54. Not right.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:46pm
  55. day after day i feel more ashame to be called a human.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:12pm
  56. The religious groups that traveled to the countries to help promote these laws should be convicted of crimes and jailed!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:12pm
  57. Everyone, please say a prayer for our brothers and sisters. They suffer as much as we do. Every prayer counts.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:24pm
  58. What barbarians… I’m Speechless..

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:27pm
  59. shameful!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 9:27pm
  60. HORRIBLY UNCHRISTLIKE

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:09pm
  61. :(

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:53pm
  62. I had a higher opinion of Islam before this. I expect Nigeria to be barbaric.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:07pm
  63. barbaric and backwards as usual

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:10pm
  64. Lashes and stoning…back to the past.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:28pm
  65. Fucking criminal beasts!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:28pm
  66. How on earth can anybody “like” this? This is horrible. This used to be the European reality 300 years ago. But it is the Islamic reality still to-day.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:29pm
  67. We should have nothing to do with that country, no money, food or any other kind of aid to them.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:39pm
  68. SEE,RELIGION KILL !!!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 12:20am
  69. Nigeria needs to experience a Boycott of Humanitarian aid

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:03am
  70. PRAY!BWX3!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:04am
  71. The army needs to send some commandos there to rescue THESE people!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:06am
  72. Like Russia and other countries, Nigeria is so freaking behind in times. It’s not funny.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:09am
  73. Send the tea party over there and they can help….idiots! We have our own “Islamic” mentality right here in “Christian” America! This has to stop everywhere!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:09am
  74. DISGUSTING!!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:11am
  75. One sentence to be lash 20 time while 10 will be stone to death so outrageous! Nigeria is a barbaric and undeveloped country.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:29am
  76. UN, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International….????

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:40am
  77. Another retarded place in the world. Rape is better than what you’ve been born to be. What a bunch of pussies, who check each others asses at the mosque and pretend! I’d rather die than live in an Islamic country. Sh….t!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 5:50am
  78. The EU and the British government should stop the international aid to that country

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:45am
  79. how stone age are these people? they should be wearing animal skins and carrying clubs, they need to go back to leaving in caves and wiping their asses with leaves

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 12:33pm
  80. oh no!

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 1:01pm
  81. Horrible. The us and canada need to take these people in.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 2:01pm
  82. the catholic church and repugs like this…stand up my brothers and sisters,,stop these people hitler lites…..

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 2:18pm
  83. Shameful and so very sad

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 2:43pm
  84. What is most frightening about this article is that it says the men gave the police over a hundred other names.

    Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 3:24pm