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More than 100 arrested for attending gay wedding in Nigeria

UPI
Nearly 200 people were arrested in Nigeria for attending a gay wedding, including the couple who got married, according to police in the western African country. Photo courtesy of Council on Foreign Relations

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Nearly 200 people were arrested in Nigeria for attending a gay wedding, including the couple who got married, according to police in the western African country.

Using the country's homosexuality laws, officers arrested hundreds of "gay suspects" early Monday morning at a hotel in Ekpan town, Delta state, in southern Nigeria.

"The amazing part of it was that we saw two suspects -- and there is a video recording -- where they were performing their wedding ceremony," Delta State Command spokesman Bright Edafe told reporters.

"This is not something that will be allowed in Nigeria," Edafe added. "We are in Africa and we are in Nigeria. We cannot copy the Western world because we don't have the same culture."

While there were reports of 200 people arrested, 67 were detained and will be charged "upon completion of the investigation," Edafe said.

Nigeria's Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act bans same sex relationships. Mass arrests are common in the country.

According to the law, which was enacted by president Goodluck Jonathan in 2013, same sex marriages are punishable with up to 14 years in prison. Anyone who "witnesses, abets or aids the solemnization of a same-sex marriage or union" faces up to 10 years.

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the law when it was enacted, saying it "dangerously restricts freedom" of expression for all Nigerians. Britain and Canada have also criticized the law.