A shari’a court in northern Nigeria has sentenced eight men to 10 lashes for cross-dressing, an act it said contradicts Islamic law, according to court papers.
The court in northern Nigeria’s largest city, Kano, also sentenced the men to three-month jail terms on Tuesday but allowed them to pay 10,000 naira in fines instead.
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The men were arrested at a wedding, dressed as women and “dancing seductively” among members of the opposite sex, which is considered immoral by Islamic and cultural standards.
The men pleaded guilty to the charges and asked for leniency from Judge Tamim Sani Hausawa.
Kano is one of 12 predominantly Muslim states in the north where sharia runs alongside common law.
The court sits at the headquarters of Kano’s Hisbah sharia police, which enforces sharia with periodic crackdowns.
Hisbah personnel are known for carrying out raids on brothels, bars, and wedding parties where men and women mingle and destroying beer after seizing deliveries coming into the city.
This was the second conviction for cross-dressing in the northern city since 2004, when a young cross-dresser was jailed for a year after he was found to be living with women in purdah disguised as a woman.
Cross-dressing is an offence that contravenes Kano’s Prostitution or Immoral Acts Law of 2000, punishable with a year in prison or a 10,000 naira fine.