See also:
» 19.03.2010 - Sierra Leone battles corruption
» 15.02.2010 - UN partners media to fight sexual violence in S/Leone
» 23.11.2009 - S/Leone’s plan to enlist youth into police scorned
» 26.10.2009 - Tribunal up-holds sentence for 3 former rebels
» 04.05.2009 - Taylor's acquittal plea thrown out
» 08.04.2009 - S/Leone rebels sentenced
» 04.02.2009 - Illicit drugs could reverse S Leone peace - UN
» 02.09.2008 - S. Leone enacts anti-graft law

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Sierra Leone
Society | Gay - Lesbian

Sierra Leone lesbian activist murder "not a hate crime"

afrol News, 13 January - According to the conclusions of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Sierra Leone Police Force, FannyAnn Eddy was not the victim of a hate crime against sexual minorities, as originally feared. The police also deny earlier reports of alleged sexual violence committed against the gay rights activist.

The forensic evidence collected in Ms Eddy's case "does not indicate that sexual violence was perpetrated against her," according to the newest police reports from Sierra Leone. The first reports about the murder, which occurred on 29 September 2003, said Ms Eddy had been "raped repeatedly, stabbed and her neck was broken." This is now repudiated.

Immediately after Ms Eddy was killed, almost four month ago, the murder was set in connection to her leadership of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association (SLLAGA). Gay and lesbian activists feared that their Sierra Leonean colleague had been killed because she stood up for the rights of sexual minorities in a country where homosexuality remains a taboo.

The Sierra Leone Police Force however reportedly acted swiftly on the murder of the prominent activist. The primary suspect in the murder was arrested in December and now awaits trial. He is charged with two counts by Sierra Leonean police; murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

According to information provided from the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the suspected killer is a disgruntled janitorial worker whom Ms Eddy had fired weeks prior to the murder. At the time of his dismissal, the accused is reported to have threatened to "take revenge" on Ms Eddy.

The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police Force in its forensic report concludes that FannyAnn Eddy was "killed by strangulation." There were no indications of sexual violence. To date, the CID has not reported a "hate crimes" component.

FannyAnn Eddy, aged 30, was found dead on the morning of 29 September 2004. While she was working alone in the SLLAGA's offices in Freetown the previous night, her assailants had apparently broken in to the premises.

Ms Eddy was Sierra Leone's most outstanding activist for the rights of sexual minorities, founding the SLLAGA in 2002. The group is providing social and psychological support to a fearful and underground community of gays and lesbians in Sierra Leone. Ms Eddy was lobbying government ministers to address the health and human rights needs sexual minorities.

She is mourned by gay and lesbian activists worldwide. The IGLHRC earlier this week in a statement said that the violent death of such a public activist "will always raise our worst fears - that her outspokenness, courage and visibility as an out lesbian human rights activist somehow prompted her murder. FannyAann's untimely and brutal death is tragic under any and all circumstances."

Meanwhile, in Sierra Leone, the human rights group founded by Ms Eddy has decided not to give up the struggle. The Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association is now "working hard to continue FannyAnn's legacy," according to the IGLHRC.

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