LGBTQ+ People Facing Violence and Harassment

Over 70 countries criminalize same-sex relations and it is subject to the death penalty in at least 11 jurisdictions. In Iran, a 31-year-old man was convicted of sodomy and publicly hanged. Mass arrests of gay men in Egypt have led to 6-year sentences for men who were simply waving a rainbow flag at a concert.

Below are some of the cases TrialWatch is monitoring in which LGBTQ+ people face harassment just for existing:

A Hotel Raid in Nigeria to Stop ‘Gay Initiation’

“This case starkly highlights the need to repeal the Same Sex Marriage Prevention Act and to cease harassment of LGBTQ individuals in Nigeria.”

Amal Clooney

In the first case under Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, forty-seven men were put on trial for ‘same sex relationships’ after being rounded up at a hotel bar. Although the charges were eventually struck out, the defendants were subjected to discrimination and mistreatment.   One defendant stated that he had been “brutalized by the police” and that he “had to tell them what they wanted to hear in order to save [himself] from further brutalization.” Another defendant alleged that “the police threw in a teargas canister inside the cell” where he and others were being held.

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Misuse of “Petty Offenses” to Eliminate Safe Spaces in Uganda

Sixty-seven men were charged with “common nuisance” after being arrested at an LGBTQ-friendly bar in Uganda – one of the few safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people in the country.  One magistrate evinced clear bias, asking if the case before her “was for the gay people misusing their bums.” Months into two of the five cases, the prosecution surprised the defense with allegations of same sex activity seemingly unrelated to the nuisance charge.

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Upcoming Reporting

  • The trial in Uganda of two individuals, one of whom is a transgender woman, who have been charged with having had sex.