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Arrested in Nigeria for Celebrating Gay Wedding

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Nigeria

Despite the harsh laws, many gay couples hold informal ceremonies with their loved ones.

Homosexual acts are illegal in the country and can attract a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.

Police, yesterday, arraigned 53 persons, who were allegedly arrested during a gay marriage, before a magistrate's court in Chediya-Zaria, Kaduna State.

Kenyan gay and lesbian organisations demonstrate outside the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi on February 7, 2014.

The suspects were arrested on April 15 and have been charged with conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful society, the clerk said.

"Only the police claim that it was a wedding party", she told NBC Out, adding that sources in Nigeria told her organization the event was "actually a birthday party".

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The case has been adjourned till May 8.

In 2014, then-President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill (SSMPA) into law. "We know that people can be blackmailed for it and unfortunately it's now the state that is using it to blackmail people", says Alimi.

Nigeria has an influential Christian evangelical movement in the south and strong support for Islamic law in the north, both of which oppose homosexuality.

Chief Magistrate Auwal Musa Aliyu said, "On April 15, 2017 about 2100 hours a team of policemen led by DSP Muhammad Lawal Mashi arrested and brought to police station 53 persons".

More than 50 people were arrested for "conspiring" to celebrate a same-sex marriage in Nigeria.

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