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Nigeria Gay Suspects Freed By Shariah Court

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A picture taken on January 22, 2014 shows two suspected homosexuals in green prison uniforms (L) sitting before Judge El-Yakubu Aliyu during court proceedings at Unguwar Jaki Upper Sharia Court in the northern Nigerian city of Bauchi. Two Islamic courts in northern Nigeria have been forced to suspend the trials of 10 men accused of homosexuality because of fears of mob violence, judges and officials have said on January 29. An angry crowd last week pelted stones at seven men suspected of breakin | AFP via Getty Images

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — A Nigerian Shariah court has freed two men accused of gay sex and belonging to a homosexual club, saying the prosecution failed to prove its case.

The two were among 12 detained in northern Bauchi state in January in a frenzy of arrests after Nigeria strengthened its penalties for homosexuality with the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.

Five of the men have been found guilty and were sentenced to fines and public whippings in the court.

On Tuesday, the judge freed a 29-year-old street vendor and a 21-year-old artisan.

The Shariah trials have been held in secret since a mob tried to lynch the men at a court hearing, demanding they be stoned to death.

One in the group is a Christian who must be tried in a secular court.

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