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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Update on Nigerian Men Arrested for Sodomy

As Chazzercise pointed out a few weeks ago, eighteen men in northern Nigeria were arrested for 'sodomy' a charge punishable by death under Sharia law. Good news is that the police were unable to find the four witnesses needed to validate the charges of sodomy. So they were forced to reduce the accusation to 'indecent dressing' (in this case cross-dressing) and 'vagrancy'.

As per local Sharia law enforcement, "any (male) person who dresses...in the fashion of a woman in a public place...will be liable to a term of one year or 30 lashes"

Five of the eighteen men were able to make bail under these new charges, but the remaining thirteen men still sit and await their fate in a Bauchi jail. Upon the announcement that five of the men were to be released, some local young men expressed outrage by throwing rocks at the courthouse. There is no news on whether or not these men are in a safe place now.

As the BBC reports, more than a dozen Nigerian Muslims have been sentenced to death by stoning for a variety of sexual offenses including sodomy. However, no one has actually been condemned to such a horrible fate. This is due in a large part to pressure from Nigerian and International human rights groups.

In these types of situations it's always best to take the lead from local community groups on the ground. We'll try to keep you updated about ways to support Nigerian human rights groups. And, please let us know if you hear of any action to take.


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