A circuit court in Ghana will decide today whether to grant bail to 21 detained LGBTQ+ activists. Police arrested the
A circuit court in Ghana will decide today whether to grant bail to 21 detained LGBTQ+ activists.
Police arrested the activists after raiding a conference on how to document and report LGBTQ+ rights violations. They are charged with unlawful assembly, though the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights is not illegal under Ghanaian law. Same-sex acts are a criminal offense.
LGBTQ+ rights are under increasing fire in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Ghana. President Nana Akufo Addo vowed in February never to legalize same-sex marriage, and in March a group of lawmakers proposed legislation to criminalize the advocacy of LGBTQ+ rights. Ghana has not prosecuted anyone for same-sex relations in years, but police regularly harass activists.
Expect bail to be granted for the detained activists. The prosecution stated that they would not object to the bail application since the investigation is concluded and unlawful assembly is a misdemeanor, the lowest offense level in Ghana. The move would come as relief in an increasingly hostile environment, with northern sub-Saharan states introducing anti-LGBTQ+ laws in recent years. The situation is unlikely to improve under Akufo Addo, with the Ghanaian legislature likely to use the increased momentum to introduce more restrictive legislation around LGBTQ+ rights advocacy.