World

Amnesty International: Police arrest gay 'suspects' in 5 Nigerian states

A poster with two hands held together with inscription ''Maintain one sexual partner''  is seen in an office in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.  Police, working off a list of 168 suspects purportedly obtained through torture, are arresting dozens of gay men in Nigeria's northern Bauchi state, human rights activists said Tuesday. A new law in Nigeria, dubbed the "Jail the Gays" bill, is encouraging the persecution of gays and will endanger programs fighting HIV-AIDS in the gay community, said Dorothy Aken'Ova, executive director of Nigeria's International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights. On Monday, President Goodluck Jonathan's office confirmed that the Nigerian leader signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that criminalizes gay marriage, gay organizations and anyone working with or promoting them. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

A poster with two hands held together with inscription ''Maintain one sexual partner'' is seen in an office in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. Police, working off a list of 168 suspects purportedly obtained through torture, are arresting dozens of gay men in Nigeria's northern Bauchi state, human rights activists said Tuesday. A new law in Nigeria, dubbed the "Jail the Gays" bill, is encouraging the persecution of gays and will endanger programs fighting HIV-AIDS in the gay community, said Dorothy Aken'Ova, executive director of Nigeria's International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights. On Monday, President Goodluck Jonathan's office confirmed that the Nigerian leader signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that criminalizes gay marriage, gay organizations and anyone working with or promoting them. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)  (The Associated Press)

Amnesty International says Nigerian police have arrested 10 people suspected of being gay in four majority Christian southern states in the highly religious nation.

It says the arrests follow President Goodluck Jonathan's signing of a law outlawing gay organizations and meetings as well as same-sex marriage.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that 38 "gay suspects" have been arrested in the mostly Muslim northern state of Bauchi since Christmas. Amnesty says police in Bauchi are keeping suspected gay people under surveillance.

Nigerian human rights defenders say they fear further persecution of gay people under the law in a notoriously corrupt country where police are known to make arrests to extort money and blackmail victims.

Jonathan signed the law, which includes penalties of up to 14 years in prison, over international condemnation.