Four men have been flogged in Nigeria after being convicted of homosexuality offences.
Source:
AAP
7 Mar 2014 - 8:48 AM  UPDATED 7 Mar 2014 - 8:52 AM

Four men have been flogged with horsewhips and fined in Nigeria after being convicted of homosexuality by an Islamic court.

The four, aged between 22 and 28, were sentenced and received 15 lashes each in secret after a trial at the Upper Sharia Court in the Unguwar Jaki district of the city of Bauchi.

Court clerk Abdul Mohammed said the case was concluded behind closed doors for security reasons after an angry mob attacked the court during their trial, demanding they be executed and forcing the hearing to be suspended.

"The four... on trial were sentenced to 15 strokes and fined 20,000 naira ($A139.54) by the court and the sentence was immediately carried out," Mohammed said.

"The court session was kept secret from the public and the judgment given and executed before the news filtered into the city," he said.

The court would adopt a similar strategy on three pending cases, he added.

The four were among seven defendants formally charged by the Bauchi State Sharia Commission on January 6 with belonging to a gay club and receiving $150,000 in donations from the United States for an apparent membership drive.

Four others were brought before a separate Islamic court on the same charges, while a Christian suspect was presented before a secular, state court.

The arrests and formal charges came days after it was confirmed that Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan had signed a bill into law banning gay marriage and same-sex unions.

The law, which carries a maximum 14-year prison term for anyone entering such unions and up to 10 years in jail for supporting gay groups and clubs, provoked international condemnation.

Many believed the arrests were spurred by the new legislation which reinforced existing laws criminalising homosexuality, giving the Sharia authorities federal backing to enforce anti-gay laws.