A total of 69 suspected gays arrested last month in an alleged same-sex marriage by the police in Delta state have been granted bail by a court in Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by their lawyer, Ochuko Ohimor.
Their bail, Ohimor said, followed a recent hearing which took place to evaluate the detainee’s bail application.
He said none of the suspects appeared in court.
According to him, they, were, instead, required to provide sureties who will submit their details to the court.
This legal step will pave the way for the release of the 69 suspects.
Ohimor stated, “So, the 69 suspects have been granted bail, and I am processing their paperwork.”
Gay or same-sex marriage is a crime in Nigeria. The bill, Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill was signed into law on January 7, 2014, by Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The law criminalises public displays of affection between same-sex couples and restricts the work of organizations defending gay people and their rights.
The law imposes a 14-year prison sentence on anyone who “[enters] into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union,” and a 10-year sentence on individuals or groups, including religious leaders, who “witness, abet, and aid the solemnization of a same-sex marriage or union.”
It imposes a 10-year prison sentence on those who “directly or indirectly make [a] public show of [a] same-sex amorous relationship” and anyone who “registers, operates, or participates in gay clubs, societies, and organizations,” including supporters of those groups.