Ghana court acquits 21 arrested at LGBTQ event

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A Ghanaian court on Thursday acquitted and freed 21 people who were arrested in May for attending an LGBTQ event during a crackdown on homosexuality.

Gay sex is a criminal offence in the West African country and members of the LGBTQ community often face discrimination.

A new proposed law that would impose tougher sentences and criminalise LGBTQ advocacy received its first reading in Ghana’s parliament this week, despite international criticism of the bill.

Those arrested in May — 16 women and five men — were detained for unlawful assembly in Ho, Ghana’s southeastern Volta region, where they were taking part in a meeting for LGBTQ advocates.

Police prosecutor, Chief Superintendent Akolgo Yakubu Ayamga, said the attorney-general had advised there was insufficient evidence to continue with prosecution.

“The court has today struck out the case based on the advice received, and the 21 have been acquitted and discharged. It means that the case is over and they are free.”

Lawyer for the accused Julia Ayertey confirmed the ruling.

 

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