Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday 9 July 2005

Hey man - let's get 'stoned'!

Of course, I have never been 'stoned' in my life, and have no intention of starting on this path now, even though when I lived in Casablanca there would have been many opportunities had I wished. However, this is not the kind of 'stoned' I'm writing about today.

A gay man in Nigeria has been sentenced to death by stoning. That's bad enough, of course (it would be difficult to think of anything worse for that man, just at present). What is truly bizarre, though, is that he had just been acquitted of having had sex with a much younger man, so really he should have walked out of the court a free man. But this is Nigeria - northern Nigeria, to be precise. The judge, when acquitting the man, asked (innocently or not, you be the judge...) if he had previously had homosexual sex - the man responded 'yes', whereupon the judge sentenced him to death by stoning. Which makes the earlier charge of having had sex with a much younger man sound even more like a pretext for trying to persecute someone for the simple fact that he is gay. Not a surprise in the case of Nigeria of course.

This sentence is as a result of the Sharia law which applies in northern Nigeria. The only ray of hope may be that ten women earlier setenced to a similar fate for having indulged in sex out of wedlock (a 'crime' of which many people around the world are certainly guilty) had their sentences overturned on appeal. I hope the federal authorities in Nigeria have the good sense to ensure that this latest nonsense in their northern region is not allowed to proceed either.

PS/ There were a number of typographical errors in this post when I first wrote it; I hope I have now corrected all of them, but if there are more that you notice, please add a comment below - thank you! (I may not have been 'stoned', but I may perhaps have been 'tipsy' as a result of the wine I had consumed with my lunch)

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