Nigeria | 47 men charged with homosexuality granted bail

Forty-seven men who are facing 14 years in prison on charges of homosexuality in Nigeria have been granted bail.

According to Nigeria’s Premium Times, the men appeared in a Federal High Court on Wednesday in Lagos.

The individuals, who pleaded not guilty, were arrested at a hotel on 25 August when caught “performing gay initiation rites for newly recruited members,” states the report.

They were formally charged with making a “public show of a same-sex amorous relationship with each other in hidden places within Kelly Hotel.”

Prosecutor J.I. Ebhoremen called on the court to keep the men in jail ahead of their trial for their apparently “heinous” crimes.

Justice Mohammed Aikawa, however, agreed to grant the individuals bail as long as they also provided additional sureties and were able to show that they held a steady job.

The men were to be kept in police custody for 48 hours and if they could not meet the stringent bail conditions they would be transferred to a correctional facility. The case was adjourned with a trial date set for 11 December.

Nigeria has some of the most repressive anti-LGBTI legislation in the world. A 2014 federal law prohibits same-sex marriages and relationships with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. It further stipulates 10 years in jail for public displays of same-sex affection as well as membership or support of LGBTI groups.

Under colonial-era legislation, anyone found guilty of engaging in homosexual acts can also be jailed for 14 years.

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