NINGI, Nigeria – Advocacy groups in Nigeria have expressed concern over the fate of three men sentenced to death for being gay.

According to a Sharia, or Islamic law, court in Ningi, Bauchi State, northeast Nigeria, the three men – Abdullahi Beti, 30, Kamilu Ya’u, 20, and Mal. Haruna, 70 — were arrested in Gwada village on June 14.

After hearing witness statements as well as the defendants’ admissions of guilt, on July 1, Judge Munka’ilu Sabo-Ningi sentenced them to death by stoning under Article 134 of the Penal Law of the United States. State of Bauchi of 2001 and a provision of the Fiquhussunah Jizu’. i, a book that is used to interpret Sharia.

The three men have not yet been executed.

“First of all, the silver lining is that it’s not too late. Normally, the Governor must approve the execution before it occurs and there is a month-long period during which convicts can appeal against their death sentence,” noted the Queer Union for Economic and Social Transformation. , a coalition of queer Nigerians.

The group, known by the acronym QUEST, noted that the men could not afford a lawyer.

“Their trial proceeded without their representation by counsel as required by the constitution and they were all forced to plead guilty,” QUEST said. “We need to pressure national and religious leaders to weigh in on the unconstitutionality that has unfolded in this process. These people will watch us all die if it means keeping their power. We cannot let their silence go unnoticed.

Jide Macaulay, an openly gay Nigerian pastor who was recently appointed chaplain of St. Peter’s House Chaplaincy at the University of Manchester in the UK, has on social media called the death sentences barbaric and a violation human rights.

“It’s heartbreaking and it’s the very reason Pride is a protest. Killing gay people because of who they love is barbaric and a violation of human rights,” Macaulay said. a new voice of reason to protect the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens in Nigeria. We must seek justice for the lives of these men. Gay men in Nigeria are in desperate need of change, government that will respect their human rights, end police brutality and decriminalize homosexuality Any sane government will include those who care deeply about welfare and justice for the most vulnerable Queer Nigerians contribute to society and the economy. We cannot be ignored.

Nigeria has penal and criminal codes which dictate the crimes and punishments for them in the country.

The penal code applies in the north, where there is a Muslim majority, and the penal code in the southern part of the country, where there is a Christian majority.

Twelve states in northern Nigeria – Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and Gombe – have implemented Sharia law which applies to marriage, divorce, inheritance, succession and other personal matters. Sharia courts impose sentences that can range from flogging and amputations to the death penalty.

The 12 Nigerian states that have implemented Sharia law are among the few jurisdictions in the world where homosexuality remains punishable by death.

The last time a Nigerian Sharia court handed down a death sentence was in 2016, when Abdulazeez Inyass was sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam.

Daniel Itai is the Washington Blade’s Africa correspondent.

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