Dozens of people were arrested in Nigeria on charges that they had been involved in a gay wedding. Homosexuality is illegal in the most populous country on the African continent.
The police detained 67 people celebrating a same-sex wedding, one of the largest mass detentions targeting the LGBTQ+ community, the Associated Press reports.
State police spokesperson Bright Edafe told reporters Tuesday that homosexuality “will never be tolerated” in Nigeria after the “gay suspects” were apprehended in southern Delta state’s Ekpan town at about 2 a.m. Monday.
Homosexuality carries a punishment of up to 14 years imprisonment under Nigeria’s 2013 Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. Those who aid in a same-sex wedding are subject to 10 years in prison.
As a result of the arrests, Amnesty International Nigeria called for “an immediate end to this witch-hunt.”
“In a society where corruption is rampant, this law banning same-sex relationships is increasingly being used for harassment, extortion, and blackmail of people,” according to the agency’s director in Nigeria, Isa Sanusi.
Edafe told reporters that 200 people were initially detained after police stormed a hotel in Ekpan during a gay wedding. Later, 67 of them were arrested, according to the AP.
As police paraded around the detained individuals and broadcast the procession online, one arrested person protested that they were not at the wedding. Instead, they said they were at the hotel for a different event.
According to a second person detained, he was arrested as he headed to a fashion show.
Many African countries have criminalized same-sex relationships, including Uganda, where a recently passed law makes homosexual acts punishable by death under certain circumstances.