Six men arrested on homosexuality charges in southern Nigeria have been put on display for journalists by the police.
Despite not having been found “guilty” of the charges, the men, whose ages range from 20 to 48, have had their names and images published by local media.
Nostringsng.com reported that the Anti-Vice Section of Zone 5 in Benin City confirmed the arrests, which took place on May 9, after the authorities received a “tip off”.
Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Zone, Musa Daura, said the men had “confessed” to being gay and to having had sex with each other.
“This is indeed terrible, there was and there is still is no evidence whatsoever to prove that these men are homosexuals other than their said confession that they might have provided under duress or out of fear,” said the LGBT site.
“And to consider that the suspects have not yet been convicted of any crime, so why release their names to the media? To be defamed?” it asked.
LiveLeak further reported that Daura claimed that the men’s “search for pleasure desecrates the African tradition”. He also stated that same-sex relationships are “illegal and alien to the Nigerian people”.
The “suspects” were additionally humiliated by journalists who questioned them about their alleged “crime” on camera (see the video below).
Daura went on to promise to “weed out the zone of all unholy elements”.
Nigeria has some of the most repressive anti-LGBT legislation in the world. A 2014 federal law prohibits same-sex marriage with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and stipulates 10 years in jail for public displays of same-sex affection as well as 10 years for membership or support of LGBT groups.
Under older colonial-era legislation, anyone found guilty of engaging in homosexual acts can be jailed for 14 years.