Some Nigerians are getting worked into a frenzy over the recent arrest of eighteen allegedly gay men. The group were nabbed last month during a so-called “gay wedding” during which they were dressed as women.
Though originally charged with sodomy, a Bauchi judge reduced the charges to “vagrancy” and “cross-dressing,” which carries a one-year or 30-lash sentence. He also released five of the men.
While the so-called criminals were no doubt thrilled to avoid a potential – yet rarely enacted – death sentence, conservative Muslims really weren’t feeling it…
Calling the reduction too lenient, a group of young protesters went berserk after a judge released five of the eighteen men. Throwing stones at the court house, the men began protesting the release of the “sinners”. The police attempted – and initially failed – to control the crowd, but got the upper hand when they launched some good old fashioned tear gas. That’ll give anti-gay protesters something to cry about!
The remaining thirteen men have all pleaded not guilty. And, according to BBC, their fates will play out in front of as many Nigerians as the court can fit: “…The trial is fast becoming “a celebrity case”… The court room was so crammed with people that many could not get in as the prosecution and defense presented their briefs.” Wait, we thought the trial was about cross dressing!