Two Jamaican Guards Accused of Beating Gay Student
Two security guards at a university in Jamaica have been released from duty as police investigate accusations that they assaulted a student believed to be gay.
A video posted on YouTube shows the student being slapped, punched and kicked by one guard as he tries to shield himself from the blows while another guard holds him. A female guard is shown standing by, holding a large piece of wood. The assault occurred late Nov. 1 at the University of Technology in the capital of Kingston.
The video was shot by someone in the angry crowd that gathered outside the guard station, breaking a window and yelling homophobic slurs.
University officials released a statement saying that they strongly condemn the assault.
The human rights group Jamaicans for Justice demanded that the government take action to address intolerance and violence on the socially conservative island.
“This horrifying act of violence is yet another example of our society’s willingness to accept violence as an appropriate response in all too many circumstances,” the group said.
The group said that the student apparently was found in a sexually compromising position with another student on campus.
Homophobia is pervasive in Jamaica, one of several Caribbean islands that still enforce a sodomy law, punishable by 10 years. In a 2008 interview with the BBC, former prime minister Bruce Golding vowed to never hire a gay person for his Cabinet.
Jamaica has only one gay rights group, and its office location remains secret for fear of violence.