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Jamaica guards sacked for brutally beating student allegedly having gay sex

Two security guards who were savagely beating a Jamaican university student after he was allegedly caught having gay sex were sacked, rights group call upon the government to tackle the country's high levels of homophobia
Two security guards were fired beating a student allegedly caught having gay sex in a Jamaican university

Two of the guards involved in the beating of a student who was caught allegedly having gay sex in Jamaica’s University of Technology (U-Tech) were fired yesterday (2 October).

In a incident revealed by Gay Star News, two male students were chased by a group of persons on the U-Tech Campus after they were allegedly found in having gay sex in a toilet on site.

One managed to escape while the other was held at U-Tech security office, at the entrance of the campus.

The student was then physically assaulted by on duty security officers contracted from Marksman Security Limited, while several other students encircled the office attempting to get hold of the student and hurling abuse and threats at him.

Marksman Security Limited, a company contracted by U-Tech who employed the guards did not say if any action would be taken against two other guards who were on duty at the time of the beating, which was caught on camera on a video posted on YouTube, said a report by the daily Jamaican Observer.

In a joint statement yesterday by U-Tech, the U-Tech Students' Union, and Marksman, the three parties ‘strongly condemn the assault on the student by the security guards, and other individuals’.

The security company said it is carrying out further ‘in-depth’ investigations in cooperation with U-Tech.

In addition to the investigation, U-Tech stated that it was providing counselling to those involved, while the Students' Union executive has initiated a series of discussions and training.

The National Youth Council of Jamaica, also condemned the incident and said all forms of abuse are unacceptable, including ones that target people’s sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, human rights group Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) said yesterday that the brutality and ferocious nature of the incident underline Jamaican society willingness to accept anti-gay violence: ‘The rights of all our people must be respected; a society ordered in the ways of peace, tolerance, and justice for all becomes a nation that would be healed of a culture of violence,’ said a statement by the JFJ yesterday.

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) also condemned the incident, and stated that it ‘remains deeply concerned about the high levels of crime and violence across Jamaica.

'This incident is evidence of the malignant level of homophobia, which continues to pervade all levels of Jamaican society and ravage lives.

'J-FLAG is again calling on the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Ministers of National Security and Education to take urgent action to address the chronic demonstration of intolerance for LGBT Jamaicans.

‘Incidents such as these continue to threaten the peace and security of every single Jamaican. We remind the Prime Minister that almost 40% of Jamaicans believe the government is not doing enough to protect the LGBT community from violence and discrimination.’

Writing for the chairty AIDS Free World website, Maurice Tomlinson, the charity's legal advisor and a leading Jamaican LGBT rights advocate highlighted the government inaction to tackle the country’s high level of homophobia as a major cause that led to this incident and others.

‘To say that the guards that brutalized this young man should face stiff penalties is an understatement. I also hold the Jamaican government responsible for contributing to this perfect storm of near-deadly hate’, he wrote. 

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