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World news: Nigerian arrests, lesbians attacked, Chechnya items
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Nigerian prosecutors have charged 53 men with conspiracy to organize a gay wedding and related crimes punishable by up to 14 years in jail, The Guardian reported, citing AFP. The accused, ages 20 to 30, appeared at a magistrates court in the northern city of Zaria, Kaduna state, after being arrested at a hotel where they allegedly attended the wedding, clerk Mahmud Bello said. The suspects were arrested on April 15 and have been charged with conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful society. Nigeria operates under secular and Islamic laws, both of which prohibit same-sex relationships.

Five lesbians were severely beaten in an attack by 15 men outside of a British club, according to LGBTQ Nation. According to a report from the Portsmouth News, a group of women was leaving the Blue Anchor pub in Portsmouth, England, when a group of men started shouting homophobic insults at them—and things escalated. A 23-year-old victim had seven teeth knocked out in the attack, and was left with a fractured jaw, while another victim was left bleeding and suffering seizures. The Blue Anchor condemned the "disgusting unprovoked homaphobbic attack" but denies that it occurred outside the bar.

Artem Kolesov, first violinist of the Yas Quartet, has been outraged by reports of gay oppression in Chechnya—so he decided to publish a video testament on being young, Russian and gay, according to . Kolesov, 23, has addressed his statement in Russian ( with English subtitles ) to his homeland, aware that in doing so he could face penalties if ever he returns.

Also in connection with Chechnya, sources have said that Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov wants the area's gay community gone by Ramadan, which starts May 26, reported. According to Pink News, Sir Alan Duncan, minister of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, told the British parliament, "Human-rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. [...] He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community. [...] Sources have said that he wants the [LGBT] community eliminated by the start of Ramadan."

Also, protesters turned up outside Chile's foreign affairs ministry ( Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores ) in the capital, Santiago, to protest against the setting up of 'gay concentration camps' in Chechnya, according to a Gay Star News item that cited The Santiago Times. Using pink triangles to symbolize how the Nazis used to identify gay men during World War II, the demonstrators urged Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Munoz to speak up against the reported mistreatment received by Chechen gay men.

A Canadian charity is helping gay men in the Russian region of Chechnya escape reported persecution and horrific violence, QNews reported. Toronto-based charity Rainbow Railroad is working to provide legal assistance, visas, transportation and other items to the Chechen men who've contacted local human-rights activists for help. According to multiple reports by independent Russian media and human rights groups, at least 100 men have been detained and violently tortured "in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such" in at least one secret prison in Chechnya, with three men reportedly dead.

Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel were named co-leaders of the German Alternative fÃr Deutschland ( AfD ) party, LGBTQ Nation reported. The AfD was founded in 2013, and is known for its euro-skepticism, extreme xenophobia, and opposition to women's and LGBTQ rights. Weidel, 38, is lesbian and lives with her partner and their two kids. In her acceptance speech, Weidel ( who says she keeps her personal and public lives separate ) called for the AfD to "stick together and fight together," and specifically named "political correctness" as a problem.

Authorities fired their guns earlier this month during a violent raid on a private party in Iran's Bahadoran District, according to a NewNowNext item. According to Canadian non-profit Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, more than 30 men were arrested and charged with sodomy, as well as for drinking alcohol and using psychedelic drugs. IRQR also reports that the men, who are between the ages of 16 and 30, will be sent to a medical facility "for anal examination in order to provide evidence of homosexual acts to the court."

In South Korea, LGBTI activists have accused presidential candidates of not committing to protecting the country's rainbow community, according to Gay Star News. The country heads to the polls on May 9 to vote for a new president to replace the disgraced Park Geun-hye. Only one of the candidates—Shim Sang-jung—has explicitly said she would "pursue" anti-discrimination legislation. Conservative candidate Hong Joon-pyo was also the only other candidate who gave a clear response when he confirmed "could not" enact anti-discrimination legislation.

Fran Suarez works in a hospital in Madrid, Spain—and his social-media photos have made him an internet sensation, The Daily Mail noted. The part-time model and dancer has won more than 50,000 Instagram followers with his pictures from work as well as his changing-room selfies. Hashtags he has used with pics include "#instagood," "#happy" and "#gaymadrid."

Olympic pole vaulter and world champion Shawn Barber came out as gay in a Facebook post, according to . "Gay and proud!" the 22-year-old wrote. "Thank you to my parents for being such a great support. I continue to grow as a person and have a great support group." The Canadian Olympic Committee confirmed to Outsports that Barber did in fact write the post.

Japanese boy band MeseMoa has released "Shadow Kiss"—a video that shows the members stealing same-sex kisses, LGBTQ Nation noted. There are in fact 36 liplocks in all, as NewNowNext pointed out, and they seem to kiss even more than they sing and dance. Questions about their sexual orientation have dogged MeseMoa since the group got their start in 2012. The video is at

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