Nigeria Gay Trial Disrupted By Thousands Of Protesters

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 19: Banners in protest at the Anti-Gay Marrage Law recently passed in Nigeria are displayed in the crowd during the 2014 African Nations Championship match between South Africa and Nigeria at Cape Town Stadium on January 19, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Getty Images) | Gallo Images via Getty Images

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — Thousands of protesters massed outside the Shariah court in Nigeria's northern city of Bauchi, throwing stones into the building to demand the speedy convictions of seven men arrested for belonging to gay organizations.

Security officials shot into the air to halt the protest and the judge quickly halted the trial. He ordered the seven be returned to the safety of the prison.

The same court last week convicted a young man of sodomy and had him publicly whipped with 20 lashes. Though he was tried under Islamic law, his was the first conviction of a gay man in Nigeria since the president signed a bill that further criminalizes homosexuality under the penal code.

Bauchi state has both the Western-style penal code and Shariah, under which sodomy carries the death sentence.

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