Nigeria: Cross-dressing sex worker released on bail, risks 14-year sentence

Amarachi, a cross-dressing Nigerian sex worker who was arrested last month, has been released on bail with the support of human rights organizations in Nigeria.

From the African Human Rights Media Network
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Amarachi is free while awaiting trial on charges of violating Nigeria’s anti-homosexuality law, the  Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014.

By Mike Daemon

Amarachi was arrested last month in Asaba, Delta State, after she raised an alarm fearing she was going to be gang-raped by two men.

Following her arrest, a police officer interrogated her in a video that later went viral on the internet.

In the video, Amarachi admitted to being a sex worker since 2016, which is not a crime in Nigeria. She did not mention if the two men she met knew about her biological gender before paying for her services.

After Amarachi’s confession, she was arrested and detained in jail for days and then later charged to court on a three-count charge of having carnal knowledge against the order of nature.

Amarachi (center) with human rights defenders Samuel Uchenna (left) and  trans/intersex activist Emmanuella David-Ette (right)

To ensure that Amarachi would be released, two human rights organizations provided legal and psychosocial support — the Dynamic Initiative for Healthcare and Human Rights (DIHHR) and Levites Initiative for Freedom & Enlightenment (LIFFE). They were represented by Samuel Uchenna and Mx. Emmanuella David-Ette, who eventually helped Amarachi secure bail.

Speaking about her involvement in the case, trans/intersex activist David-Ette said the experience exposed advocacy gaps that need to be addressed.

“Working on this case made me further convinced why we should create room for advocacy with stakeholders. By stakeholders, I mean judges, lawyers, policemen, etc. I also could locate who are prospective allies from things said but we’re hopeful,” she said.

Even though Amarachi has now been released, she is still expected to appear in court for further hearing on the case. If convicted, Amarachi risks a 14-year jail term.

Source: African Human Rights Media Network member NoStringsNG.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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