Last edited: June 10, 2004

Jamaica’s Leading Gay Rights Activist Murdered, June 10, 2004

By Newscenter Staff

Kingston—Brian Williamson Jamaica’s most vocal advocate of LGBT rights has been murdered in what supporters have labeled a hate crime.

His body was discovered in his Kingston apartment by a roommate returning home from work. Williamson was lying facedown in a pool of blood. He had been stabbed numerous times in the neck.

Police dispute that his killing was related to his sexuality. Investigators say they are searching for two men who were with him shortly before his killing.

“At this time the police are theorizing robbery to be the motive as a money safe he had is missing and the apartment was ransacked,” Corporal Devon Hugh Williams told the Jamaica Observer.

But the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), which Williamson founded, branded Williamson’s murder a “hate-related crime”.

In a statement the group said Williamson was “one of Jamaica’s most courageous human rights activists” who was killed because he is gay.

“The condition of his body... and his visibility as a gay man lead us to suspect this is a hate-related crime,” the group said.

Jamaica has been cited numerous times by international human rights groups for its intolerance toward gays. Gay sex is illegal in the country, and the government has been accused of ignoring violent crimes against the LGBT community.

Only a week ago Amnesty International urged Jamaican Prime Minister P J Patterson to publicly denounce violence against gays and repeal the anti-sodomy law. Patterson has said that he will not press to change the law.

At least 30 gay men are believed to have been murdered since 1997, according to J-FLAG.

Rap and Reggae music frequently contain lyrics calling for violence against gays and has to a call by British rights leader Peter Tatchell for hate crime prosecutions in the UK against the artists and the distributors of their music.

In February a teenager was beaten by school yard bullies while his father looked on smiling at it was discovered the youth is gay.

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