(Kingston, Jamaica) A young Jamaican man
plunged to his death off a pier in Kingston after reportedly being chased
through the streets by a mob yelling homophobic epithets.
In a desperate attempt to flee his tormentors
Nokia Cowan leaped from the pier into Kingston harbor. Unable to swim he died in
the rancid water.
Whether Cowan actually was gay or not is known,
but he became the third man to recently die as a result of homophobia in
JFLAG, the country's gay rights organization
Wednesday called for a police investigation into the events that led to his
"Most importantly, we
implore the highest members of government to clearly indicate that violence
based on sexual orientation, both perceived and actual, is unacceptable in
Jamaica," JFLAG said in a statement.
Last month, Lenford "Steve" Harvey who
ran Jamaica AIDS Support for Life was shot to death on the eve of World AIDS
Day. Support for Life provides support to gay men and sex workers. (story)
Police are looking for three men who broke into
Harvey's home confronting him and his two roommates.
The armed men demanded money. "We hear that
you are gay," the gunmen yelled at the trio. The two housemates
denied it but Harvey apparently remained silent. The housemates were gagged and
Harvey was ordered at gunpoint to help the gunmen
carry valuables to his car. He was forced into the vehicle and kidnapped
by his attackers.
Two hours later, he was found, shot dead.
Last year Brian Williamson Jamaica's most vocal
advocate of LGBT rights was murdered. (story)
According to Human Rights Watch: "Police
actively support homophobic violence, fail to investigate complaints of abuse,
and arrest and detain [men] based on their alleged homosexual conduct."
Gay sex is illegal in Jamaica, punishable by ten
years in jail, with the possibility of hard labor.
Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton and two other
men are facing trial on assault charges in a vicious attack on six gay men
earlier this year.
Reggae, or Jamaican dancehall music, is blamed
for fueling homophobia. Banton's hit song Boom Boom Bye Bye which
threatens gay men with a "gunshot in ah head".