The government in violently anti-homosexual Nigeria arrested 53 people for participating in an unofficial same-sex wedding, although the lawyers of the accused say that they were on birthday party.
Homosexuality, including LGBT events and organizations, has been banned in the Central African country since 2014, and since then the police have fiercely arrested gays and bisexuals. Penalties include up to 14 years in prison and riots. Activists state that the law of 2014 legitimized police violence against LGBT people.
The arrests last Saturday took place in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna. The northern part of Nigeria is massively Islamic, with strong Christian influence in southern Nigeria. In accordance with the BBC, homosexuality is condemned by most people throughout the country. After the gay men and bisexual men were arrested in 2014, a violent homophobic crowd met the defendant in the courthouse and almost started a riot.
The lawyer of those arrested in Kaduna said that most men were students and did not attend anything close to a merry wedding; it was a birthday. According to the lawyer, the men were also illegally detained for 24 hours.
The men are accused of conspiracy, illegal gatherings and belonging to an illegal society. Their court date is set for May 8.