Men-dressed like woman trial postponed in Nigeria

A Nigerian judge in an Islamic sharia court here on Tuesday postponed the trial of 18 men arrested for wearing women's clothing earlier this month.

Men-dressed like woman trial postponed in Nigeria

A Nigerian judge in an Islamic sharia court here on Tuesday postponed the trial of 18 men arrested for wearing women's clothing earlier this month.

Presiding judge Tanimu Abubakar put the case back until September 13 after a state prosecutor applied to take it over from police.

Five of the 18 men were released on bail pending the resumption of the case, and the remaining 13, who have not yet satisfied bail conditions including the payment of 20,000 naira (156 dollars, 108 euros), were sent back to prison after appearing in court.

The men, described by rights groups as aged between 18 and 22 and coming from outside Bauchi state, were arrested together in a Bauchi hotel dressed in women's clothing on August 4.

The sharia police encountered 45 men, all dressed as women, during the hotel raid, but more than half of them escaped, Bununu said. The men had allegedly been planning to celebrate a gay "marriage".

A spokesman for the local sharia police, Muhamad Muhamad Bununu, said the suspects had been charged "under the idle persons and vagabonds section of sharia law."

"Any (male) person who dresses .. in the fashion of a woman in a public place" or has the reputation of practising sodomy "will be liable to a term of one year or 30 lashes," he said.

Actual sodomy, which must be witnessed at close quarters by at least four people and is therefore very difficult to prove, carries sentence of the death penalty.

"For now we can't charge the men with sodomy because we have to have witnesses testify," Bununu told AFP.

As the suspects left court, the crowd hurled insults at them and pelted them with stones, some of which hit police and journalists covering the trial. Police fired into the air and used tear gas to restore order.

The sharia penal code was adopted in Bauchi and other states in Muslim northern Nigeria eight years ago following the end of military rule.

AFP

Last Mod: 21 Ağustos 2007, 23:33
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