a young man convicted of sodomy was whipped 20 times thursday in a northern nigerian shariah court. though mubarak ibrahim was found guilty under shariah law, it's the first conviction of a gay man in nigeria since president goodluck jonathan signed a bill which furthers the criminalization of homosexuality under the west african nation's westernized penal code.
activists believe the new law promotes homophobia and endangers gay people in a country where lynchings and mob justice are common. but the muslim rights concern group on thursday said it was "the other way round as the practice of homosexualism and lesbianism is most capable of instigating widespread hatred and turning society upside down."
the group praised jonathan for resisting pressures from western powers who've condemned the law and urged them to stop what it called meddling in nigerian internal affairs. they said, "most reprehensible is the attempt by foreign powers to intimidate and coerce nigeria into absorbing their despicable culture by threatening to withhold foreign aid."
ibrahim, a 28 year-old unemployed artisan in the city of bauchi, pleaded guilty to committing one act of sodomy seven years ago. he said he was misled into the act by the principle of the high school he was attending. he also said he hasn't committed a homosexual act since. judge nuhu mohammed said he'd spare ibrahim the sentence of death by stoning because the crime occurred so many years ago, and the young man had shown "great remorse."
the 20 lashes were administered in the public court. ibrahim was also ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 naira ($30). it wasn't immediately clear if he'd been able to pay and go free. ibrahim was among 12 men - 11 muslims and one christian - arrested by police since christmas for belonging to a gay club. dorothy aken'ova, a human rights activist whose organization is helping with lawyers, said police lured four of the men, and tortured them into providing a list of 168 wanted gay men.
shariah commission chairman mustapha baba llela has denied any of those arrested were tortured. additionally, the police, he told the associated press, were hunting for other members of a gay club, but would not say how many.
the same sex marriage prohibition act jonathan signed into law january 7 brought widespread condemnation from abroad - including the united states, britain, canada, the european union and the united nations. the unaids agency says the law could criminalize people in programs to fight hiv/aids. the u.s. says it violates the rights of all nigerians to free speech and association.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.