TIME Nigeria

4 Men Publicly Whipped in Nigeria for Having Gay Sex

Islamic law in some Nigerian states can carry the death penalty for homosexuality, but the judge said he was lenient because the men promised they had changed their ways.

Four men were publicly whipped Thursday in northern Nigeria after being convicted of having gay sex by an Islamic court, according to a human rights activist with the Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights Network.

Dorothy Aken’Ova told the Associated Press that the men were sentenced to 15 strokes and the option of a $120 fine or a year’s imprisonment. The men were first detained in a wave of arrests following the country’s January implementation of stricter criminal penalties for homosexuality. Aken’Ova said the men risk further violence in prison if human rights groups don’t come up with money for the fines.

Aken’Ova said the men, all between 20 and 22 years old, were beaten before they confessed. They were later forced to prostate themselves on the floor of a regional court to be whipped.

Homosexuality can carry the death penalty under Shariah law in some northern Nigerian states — typically not enforced — but the judge said he was lenient because the men promised they had changed their ways since the homosexual acts, Aken’Ova told the AP.

[AP]

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