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In Nigeria, angry mob hurling stones halts Sharia court trial of 11 men accused of being gay

BAUCHI, Nigeria – Thousands of angry protesters threw stones into a Sharia court on Wednesday and demanded the conviction and execution of 11 men accused of being members of gay groups, according to news reports.

Chaos, lawlessness and anti-gay violence overtook this northern city, as Nigeria’s so-called “Jail The Gays” law has turned Africa’s most-populous nation into a snake pit of hate and homophobia, unleashing untold horrors on the LGBT community.

President Goodluck Jonathan earlier this month signed into law the misleading named Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which bans gay marriage and civil unions and criminalizes all things gay. Even straight people who shelter LGBT Nigerians are subject to arrest and a prison sentence.

In the north, where Muslims dominate and where Sharia law is enforced along with the federal laws, the situation is grave. Sharia law condemns those found guilty of gay sex to death by stoning or lethal injection.

The 11 men were in Sharia court today after being arrested under the new law for participating in a gay organization. The angry mob wanted blood, and authorities had to fire bullets into the air to chase them away.

Judge El-Yakubu Aliyu abruptly shut down the court, and the 11 accused men were safely returned to prison, according to media reports.

Last week, the same Sharia court convicted a young man of sodomy from an encounter seven years ago and the judge spared his life, saying he showed remorse. The young man was sentenced to 20 lashes in a public whipping and fined.

Human-rights observers have accused police of arresting and torturing men suspected of being gay, seeking the names of others to arrest. News reports say more than 175 men are being hunted as a result.

The UN, EU, UK and U.S., along with many other countries, have called for Nigeria to stop the witch hunt against gays and to observe the human rights guaranteed by the nation’s constitution.