A court in Nigeria has freed on bail the 69 people who were arrested during a police raid on a suspected same-sex wedding last month, according to CNN.
The alleged wedding party saw more than 200 people arrested in the Delta State on 28 August, more than 60 of which were prosecuted for “allegedly conducting and attending a same-sex wedding ceremony”.
Ochuko Ohimor, a lawyer for the suspects, added that they have since “been granted bail officially by the court under very reasonable terms” and will be released this week once the conditions of their bail have been met.
“All of them should be out this week,” he continued. “They need a surety who will show evidence of income and must be resident within the judicial division. The surety should be able to earn at least one million naira (£1,043) in a year.”
The suspects, who are aged between 16 and 40 years, were not present at the Delta State High Court when the request for bail was approved.
A further hearing on the matter will take place at a later date that is yet to be determined, Ohimor confirmed.
“People look at me with disgust for standing for them”
The lawyer added that he has been “scandalised” for representing the suspects.
“Some say I’m a gay lawyer, that’s why I’m defending them,” he explained. “People look at me with disgust for standing for them.”
Following their arrest, authorities paraded the suspects in front of the media.
Bright Edafe, a police spokesperson, told local outlets at the time: “We are bringing this out to the world to know, especially Nigerians, we are in Africa and we cannot copy the Western culture because we do not have the same structure and tradition.”
The mass arrest is one of the largest Nigeria has seen in recent years and was condemned by Amnesty International.
“In a society where corruption is rampant, the law banning same-sex relationships is increasingly being used for harassment, extortion, and blackmail of people by law enforcement officers and other members of the public,” the organisation said in a statement. “This is unacceptable.”
Homosexuality and same-sex marriages are illegal in the country and can result in up to 14 years in prison, or a decade for accomplices.