The Trentonian's Strange But True Page

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In related news, the "The Rocky Horror Show" troupe cancelled their fall tour

BAUCHI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Eighteen Nigerian men accused of dressing up as women during a party at a hotel went on trial Tuesday before an Islamic sharia court in the northern state of Bauchi.

Dozens of residents shouted abuse and hurled stones at the men as they were escorted into an armored prison vehicle after the hearing, prompting police to fire tear-gas at the crowd.

The men, mostly in their 20s, were arrested in a Bauchi hotel on August 4. Police say they were dressed as women, which is illegal under the state's sharia penal code.

The offense is punishable by up to a year in prison and 20 lashes by cane.

The accused, who tried to hide their faces as they were jeered on their way in and out of court, deny the charge. One of them told Reuters they went to the hotel for a graduation party.

Muhammad Bununu of the Hisbah Commission, a body charged with enforcing sharia law in the state, told reporters the accused were "addressing each other as women and dressing themselves as women."

"They said they went to the hotel to witness a wedding between a male and a male," he said.

The police brought handbags and suitcases containing women's high-heel shoes and clothing to the court as evidence.


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