A court in Ghana on Thursday acquitted and released 21 LGBT activists who were arrested in late May in the southeast of the country for “unlawful assembly” after attending a conference about their activities.
The 16 women and five men were arrested on May 20 in Ho, a city in the Volta region, while “participating in a conference to promote their activities.
The program was aimed at training “lawyers to better identify and report human rights violations suffered by LGBTQ Ghanaians,” Rightify Ghana said on Twitter.
According to Chief Superintendent of Police Yakubu Ayamga, the Attorney General found that there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case.
“The court dismissed the case today based on the opinion (of the attorney general) and the 21 people were acquitted,” he said.
The attorney for the arrestees, Julia Ayertey, confirmed the ruling.
“We welcome the decision, which has always been our line from the beginning of this case,” she said.
Sex between men is forbidden in Ghana and, although legal proceedings are rare, sexual minorities are marginalized, victims of harassment and assault.
In recent months, the highly conservative and religious English-speaking West African country has faced a wave of homophobia. In February, a gay support center in Accra was closed by the authorities.
A new bill to increase penalties and criminalize the promotion of the LGBT movement received its first reading in parliament this week, despite international criticism of the text.