World News Briefs
Published Thursday, 07-Aug-2008 in issue 1076
Ugandan police torture gay activist
On July 25, Ugandan police arrested and tortured a key Ugandan gay activist – one of three people who had been arrested on June 3 for protesting inside the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting in the nation’s capital, Kampala.
A motorbike taxi in which Usaam Mukwaya was riding was stopped by police and he was placed in a patrol car, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Mukwaya was driven to a building where he was aggressively interrogated about the Ugandan GLBT movement.
He was cut around the hands and tortured with a machine that applies pressure to the body, preventing breathing and causing severe pain, IGLHRC said.
According to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and IGLHRC, the next day around noon, police dumped Mukwaya on a street – filthy, bruised and without shoes and some of his clothing. He telephoned SMUG colleagues who came and fetched him.
“IGLHRC calls upon its partners and friends to join us in condemning the arrest and torture of Mukwaya and the violation of LGBT human rights in Uganda by the government and its agents,” the group said. For more information, see tinyurl.com/6mj4my.
In the earlier AIDS-meeting protest, Mukwaya, Onziema Patience and Valentine Kalende were seized by the Uganda Police Force for entering the conference without permission. They were carrying posters and handed out a press release. The trio was charged with criminal trespass. The case is ongoing.
The activists were protesting a statement by Uganda AIDS Commission Director General David Kihumuro Apuuli, who allegedly had said, “Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because of meager resources we cannot direct our programs at them at this time.”
About 1,700 delegates from all over the world attended the meeting.
Anti-gay Russian governor will not be prosecuted
Authorities in Russia’s Tambov region decided July 28 not to prosecute Gov. Oleg Betin for saying to a newspaper: “Tolerance? To hell! Faggots should be torn apart and their pieces thrown to the wind.”
Gay activists had sought a determination of whether Betin’s remarks breached a Criminal Code article that prohibits incitement of hatred and violence toward members of social groups.
But Tambov prosecutors determined that homosexuals are not members of a particular social group against whom hatred can be incited.
Activist Nikolai Alekseev vowed to appeal the decision as far as the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.
“(The) absence of legal protection for homosexual people against discrimination and hate speech contradicts the European Convention (on Human Rights),” Alekseev said. “We are going to make the court oblige Russian authorities to pass necessary amendments to the current Russian legislation.”
Hate crimes mar Europride in Stockholm
A series of hate crimes marred the 10-day Europride celebration, held this year in Stockholm from July 25 to Aug. 3.
On July 27, two men who had just kissed were stabbed and robbed of their cell phones in the Tantolunden area by attackers who shouted anti-gay slurs. One of the victims was seriously injured.
On July 30, two men were assaulted outside a 7-Eleven store in the downtown area by attackers who shouted homophobic insults. They suffered minor injuries. Police later arrested three alleged assailants, ages 17 to 20.
Police classified both incidents as hate crimes, said the Stockholm publication The Local.
In addition, three Lutheran churches were vandalized because the Church of Sweden took part in Europride.
The buildings and grounds were plastered with flyers condemning homosexuality and the pride events. The flyers described the perpetrators as “orthodox Christians.”
On Aug. 2, about half a million people turned out for the Europride parade, despite drenching rainfall.
Estonia considers same-sex partnership law
Estonia’s Justice Ministry is drafting a same-sex partnership law, with plans that it come into force in 2009.
The proposed statute is expected to cover such areas as inheritance, property rights and citizenship.
A poll by the newspaper Eesti Päevalehelt suggests the measure will pass Parliament, as long as it doesn’t include adoption rights.
UK gays report high level of hate crimes
About 20 percent of gay and lesbian people in the United Kingdom say they’ve been victims of one or more hate crimes or incidents in the past three years, according to a scientific survey by YouGov and the gay-rights group Stonewall.
The survey found that 75 percent of such incidents – which included harassment and physical and sexual assault – are never reported to police.
Among many other findings, the survey revealed that a third of gay and lesbian people alter their behavior so as not to appear gay, to prevent being a hate-crime victim.
The survey questioned 1,721 gays and lesbians nationwide. For the full report, see tinyurl.com/5g48rx.
Gays arrested in Saudi Arabia
Fifty-five young men were arrested at a gay dance party in Saihat, Saudi Arabia, July 28, local media reported.
Col. Abdul Aziz Soleiman, spokesman for security forces in the Eastern Region, said the party took place on a farm and that two of the detainees were wearing women’s makeup and dancing for the other attendees.
The Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Unit took part in the raid, reports said.
Saudi authorities have raided other gay parties in recent months, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.