Ghanaian court denies bail of 21 detained LGBT activists
A Ghanaian court on Tuesday refused the bail of 21 gay rights activists arrested nearly three weeks ago for what police called an illegal assembly, their lawyer said.
The 16 women and five men were invited to appear in court again on June 16 for their next hearing. Some were seen crying after the judgment in the southeastern city of Ho.
LGBT people face widespread persecution in this West African country, where gay sex is punishable by up to three years in prison. Ghana has not prosecuted anyone for same-sex relationships for years, but the LGBT community has reported a crackdown by authorities in recent months.
The activists were arrested on May 20 at a hotel, police said in a statement at the time of their arrest. The statement accused them of defending LGBT activities with books and flyers with headlines such as “Coming out” and “All about Trans”. Read more
LGBT + Rights Ghana said there was no legal reason for the arrests and activists gathered for a workshop on how to document and report human rights violations. Promoting LGBT rights is not illegal in Ghana.
Julia Selman Ayetey, an attorney for the defendants, told Reuters they were denied bail, without giving further details. The activists had already been denied bail by Ho’s High Court before going to the Circuit Court.
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