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Nigeria: Trial of 10 men to be held in secret after court attacked

Defendants to be prosecuted for being gay

The trial of 10 men arrested for being gay in the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi will be held in secret after the court in which they made their first appearance was pelted with stones. Credit: infoplease.com

The trial of 10 gay Nigerian men will be held in secret after their courtroom was pelted with stones during an initial hearing, Gay Star News reports. The men are being prosecuted for being gay in Bauchi, a conservative state in northern Nigeria where sharia law has been in effect since 2001.

During the men's first court appearance, an angry crowd gathered outside the courtroom, some onlookers threatening to kill the accused immediately if they were released. When stones began to fly through the windows, injuring spectators, the judge was removed to safety and the trial postponed.

The men were arrested by religious police after one of them was lured into a trap by anti-gay vigilantes; information on his phone was used to find others.

Persecution of gay men in Nigeria has increased in the past month, since Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill further criminalizing homosexuality. There are reports that dozens of people have been arrested in both the north and south of the country. Just recently, a man in Bauchi received 20 lashes after an Islamic court found him guilty of breaking laws against homosexuality, acts he reportedly committed seven years ago, the BBC reports