Nigerian judge sentences gay man to 20 lashes: "He is supposed to be killed"

A Nigerian judge praised himself for showing leniency to a gay man by having him whipped 20 times on a courtroom bench. After the lashing on a courthouse bench with a leather whip by a bailiff, the people outside the courthouse were not satisfied with the gay man only getting 20 lashes with a whip. The crowd wanted the judge to sentence death penalty by stoning for being gay. Since Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathon signed a deadly anti-LGBT law, it has become more and more difficult for LGBT people to feel safe in their own country.

The New York Times reports:

“This draconian new law makes an already-bad situation much worse,” the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement. “It purports to ban same-sex marriage ceremonies but in reality does much more,” she added. “Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights.”

Officials here in Bauchi say they want to root out, imprison and punish gays. Local lawyers are reluctant to represent them. Bail was refused to the gay people already jailed because it was “in the best interests of the accused,” said the chief prosecutor, Dawood Mohammed. In the streets, furious citizens say they are ready to take the law into their own hands to combat homosexuality.

Complaining of the difficulty in distinguishing gay people from others, Mr. Tata said: “They don’t do it in the open. You get one or two, you see how they speak, you see how they dress, then you might have reasonable grounds to suspect.” Mr. Tata, speaking in the whitewashed two-story Shariah Commission headquarters here, said that happily, “we get information from sources interested in seeing the society cleansed.”

His words were borne out by the mood on the street. “God has not allowed this thing; we are not animals,” said Umar Inuwa Obi, 32, a student who said he was in the mob that hurled stones and bottles at the court and the prison van transporting the gay suspects two weeks ago.

“People are out to kill,” said Abdullahi Yalwa, a sociologist who teaches at a Bauchi college.

Officials and activists here agree that the new law signed by President Jonathan has given added impetus to the country’s anti-gay sentiment, encouraging prosecutors and citizens alike to take action. The law “completely prohibited anything that is gay,” Mr. Mohammed said.

The LGBT community in Nigeria is at a dangerous crossroad. They are confronted with laws that justify violence against LGBT people and a population where a greater majority agrees with these deadly laws. Read the full story at the New York Times