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Chechnya continues to dominate the headlines amid reports of its mass arrests and torture of gay men. Most recently, Britain’s Deputy Foreign Secretary and openly gay Parliament member Sir Alan Duncan claims to have heard reports of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov vowing to eliminate Chechnya’s gay community by the start of Ramadan (May 26). This alleged vow comes a week after Kadyrov said that no gay men even live in Chechnya.
But Chechnya is not the only country currently arresting large groups of suspected homosexuals and bisexuals.
Reports of arrest at a Nigerian gay wedding
Last Saturday, authorities in the north Nigerian state of Kaduna reportedly arrested and charged 53 people, men and women, with conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful society over their alleged celebration of a gay wedding.
According to defense lawyer Yunusa Umar, most of the people arrested were college students, students who were illegally detained by authorities for more than 24 hours. A Nigerian court has since released the people on bail with a hearing set for May 8. Gay rights advocates familiar with the case claim that the people had been celebrating a birthday party.
On Jan. 13, 2014, Nigeria signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, a law which punishes anyone who registers, operates, supports or participates in “gay clubs, societies or organizations” with a 10-year prison sentence. Human Rights Watch says the law has been used to justify mob violence, sexual assault and extortion against Nigeria’s LGBTQ citizens.
An anti-gay raid near central Iran
The Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR), a Canadian charity that seeks to relocate persecuted Iranian queers, reports that Iranian police in the Isfahan province raided a private party last Thursday and arrested and tortured 30 men between the ages of 16 and 30. The IRQR claims to have received reports that the men (some of whom were heterosexual) were beaten during their arrest, taken to Isfahan’s Dastgerd Prison and then charged with “sodomy, drinking alcohol and using psychedelic drugs.”
The IRQR says that these men will be subject to forced anal examinations to “prove” their homosexuality and then possibly executed if found guilty. Such examinations are a common form of anti-gay harassment, intimidation and assault that are tantamount to torture and do not actually prove the incidence of anal sex.
While Iran and Nigeria both have large Muslim populations, Nigeria also has a large and anti-gay Christian population. Pro-gay Muslims have argued that the persecution of LGBTQ citizens in these countries is cultural rather than religiously mandated.
(Featured image by jinga80 via iStock)