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Nigeria criminalizes homosexuality: Man whipped 20 times for committing sodomy

Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same Sex Prohibition Act on Jan. 7, bringing widespread condemnation from abroad. A homosexual man was publicly whipped in a packed courtroom, the first to be convicted under the new law.

Mubarak Ibrahim is a 20-year-old homosexual Muslim man living in northern Nigeria, where it is illegal to engage in homosexual behavior. For his crime, the Nigerian was told to lie on a courtroom bench, and was whipped publicly 20 times.

The shocking account, reported on by The Associated Press and carried by ABC News on Thursday, indicates that Ibrahim’s conviction is the first “of a gay man in Nigeria since President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill that further criminalizes homosexuality under the West African nation's Western-style penal code.”

Gay marriage, public displays of affection, and “deviant acts” are banned in the African country, under Sharia Law.

Ibrahim was among 12 men – 11 Muslims and one Christian – who have been arrested in the last month by Nigerian police and accused of belonging to a “gay club.”

A BBC reporter present at the sentencing said Ibrahim screamed in pain as the lashes were administered. The whip was made from animal skin and dipped in oil.

Activists and Human Rights organizations have roundly condemned the new law, stating that the ruling endangers gays and polarizes rampant homophobia in a country already known for public lynchings and mob violence.

Giving the opposite view is the Muslim Rights Concern group, who 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."

According to ABC News, the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that Jonathan signed on Jan. 7 “brought widespread condemnation from abroad — including the United States, Britain, Canada, the European Union and the United Nations.”

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