JAMAICA

Buju Banton In Court Friday After Gay-Bashing Attack

 

 

Trial is test case on whether justice exists for gay Jamaicans
 

 


 

 

 

 

LONDON, September 27  –  UK gay human rights group Outrage! will be paying particular attention to a trail in a Jamaican court on Friday when Mark Myrie, better known as  reggae singer Buju Banton, answers charges of assault.

Jamaican police allege that Banton was one of a group of men who forced their way into a house on Carlisle Avenue in Kingston on June 24 last year and beat six men who they accused of being gay, according to the Jamaica Observer newspaper (23 September).

Myrie was allowed out on bail of $J50,000 (£450, €665, $US800) after he pleaded not guilty to the charges of assault at the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

As a condition of his bail, the court ordered the rastafarian entertainer to report to the Constant Spring Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

“This trial is test case on whether gay people can get justice in Jamaica,” said Brett Lock of OutRage!, which has spearheaded an international solidarity campaign with anti-homophobia groups in Jamaica.

“Some Jamaicans fear that Mr Banton’s celebrity and the strongly homophobic attitudes that exist in Jamaica will deny justice to the victims of what was a horrific homophobic assault.

“We pay tribute to the police officers who eventually pressed ahead with these charges, despite huge pressure not to do so. It our hope that the court will show similar resolve.

“OutRage! salutes the courageous struggle of gay and human rights groups in Jamaica to challenge violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  We support their campaigns.

“A warrant for Mr Banton’s arrest was issued last June, just days after the alleged assault.

“Jamaican police and prosecutors were heavily criticised by Jamaican human rights groups for failing to execute the warrant.  There were allegations that some senior officers were protecting the singer from the due process of law.

“Buju Banton became notorious in the early 1990s with his violently homophobic hit single, Boom Bye Bye, which incited his audience to shoot “batty boys” (queers) in the head, pour acid over them and set them on fire.

“He continues to perform Boom Bye Bye and re-released it on two compilation albums (Best of… and Strictly the Best 9).  The albums are still on sale and Mr Banton continues to earn royalties from Boom Bye Bye’s murderous incitements,” said Mr Lock.

Buju Banton is one of eight reggae dancehall artistes who have faced protests from gay and human rights groups in Jamaica, Europe and the United States for their gay-bashing lyrics.

These protests have been coordinated by the Stop Murder Music campaign group, led by the UK gay rights organisations, OutRage! and the Black Gay Mens Advisory Group, and by the Jamaican gay rights movement, J-Flag.

Dozens of concerts have been cancelled as a result of the campaign, which has cost the artists, promoters and venues losses in excess of £UK5 million.

 

 

LINKS

Outrage! website

 

Recent Articles

September 26: 
Moldova: 
Moldova: Discrimination Against Gays, Lesbians Is Inadmissible, Says Council of Europe.  Moldova must guarantee the fundamental rights of gays and lesbians, a report from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) says.

September 25: 
UK: 
Time For Tribute Website for Gay Community To Be Noticed, by Steven Kay.  It seems natural for anyone to place a tribute into the local paper when a loved one dies.  But when Nigel Barnes, the founder of gaytributes.com tried, he was refused at every stage, all owing to one little word  “gay”.

September 24:
Russia: 
Cashman Pledges Support for Moscow Gay Pride.  Michael Cashman, the out-gay Member of the European Parliament, has invited the Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov to Strasbourg for a “summit” on gay pride events and of LGBT rights to expression, demonstrations and meetings.

September 23: 
Iran: 
Holding Iran Accountable for Violating Gay Human Rights, by Paula Ettelbrick.  The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, joined the largest gathering ever of world leaders last week at the United Nations without one question being asked about his country’s continued violations of international human rights law. Iran has signed both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Both forbid the execution of any person under the age of 18 for any crime. Yet there has been a rash of public executions in Iran that have involved youth or were related to sexuality and gender identity.

September 22: 
USA: 
Amnesty Report Reveals Alarming and Widespread Police Mistreatment of Gays in USA.  In the most comprehensive report of its kind to date, Amnesty International (AI) reveals that police mistreatment and abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is widespread throughout the USA and goes largely unchecked due to underreporting and unclear, under-enforced or non-existent policies and procedures.
 Full statement by Dr.William Schulz,
Executive Director of Amnesty International USA

Russia:  Gay Russian Wins Employment Discrimination Case in Landmark Ruling - Court Rules Homosexuality Is Not a Mental Disorder.  In what is seen as a “landmark” ruling, a court in St. Petersburg has backed a gay man whose military record said he had a mental disorder, solely on the basis that he was gay.  The man, identified only as “Mr. VP”, had applied to the Russian State Railways for a job as a guard, but was deemed to be unfit for the job because of his “mental disorder”.

September 21: 
Turkey: 
Ankara’s Deputy Governor Threatens to Close Down Gay Organisation.  The Deputy Governor of Ankara, Selahattin Ekremoglu, is calling for an LGBT group to be closed down, it emerged today.  Ekremoglu claimed last week that the group operated “against the laws and morality rules” and should be closed down.
Russia:  Poll Shows Majority Support Gay Rights in Russia.  For the first time ever, a clear majority of Russians say that there should be equal rights for gays in the country, a new opinion poll has found.

September 20
Iran:  Iranian Gays Live in Fear This is the full text of the press statement from PGLO (Persian Gays & Lesbians Organisation) received by email received at Outrage! in London.  Amir, a young Iranian homosexual, recently spoke out about the torture he has suffered at the hands of the Iranian authorities.

Iran: Gay Amir, Aged 22, Given 100 Lashes.  The bruised and bloodied body of a 22 year old gay Iranian, Amir, bears further witness to the brutality of the Ayatollah’s regime.  Yet many gay and human rights groups in “the West” are sweeping the matter under the carpet, Outrage! suggests.

USA:  New York’s Famous Gay Pair Call It a Day.  Commentary.  We all know that these days love often fades and couples, whether gay or straight, split up.  News came today via many British newspapers that Roy and Silo, arguably New York City’s most famous gay “item”, have decided to call it a day.

Posted: 27 September 2005 at 13:00 (UK time)

 

 

 

ARCHIVE LATEST NEWS CONTACT EMAIL