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Day 29: Eric Ohena Lemembe

Photo from CBC News

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions violence, brutality, torture, a beating, alledged homophobic hate attack, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


The day passed just like any other in the city of Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. It was the 12th of July, 2013 and the people of the city went about their day. They all got up at the beginning of the day when the run rose up in the sky, had breakfast, went to work or school, had a lunch break before continuing then made their way home for dinner.

One man was relaxing in his home in the living room. He had eaten a little while ago so his belly was full. After a long day at work he wanted nothing more than to relax for the rest of the night so that was what he was going to do. He plopped himself on the couch and turned on the TV. There wasn’t anything in particular that he wanted to watch but he was sure that if he kept looking through the channels he was bound to find something he would think was interesting.

As he flipped through the channels, a small group of men approached his home. They made sure to dress and act like they were just on a normal walk in the streets despite the late hour. It wasn’t uncommon to see people out and about at dusk but to have a group out together was a little less common. It wasn’t enough to cause suspicion but the men weren’t about to take any chances. They had to be careful because they had a plan. A plan that they knew was wrong both morally and legally but they didn’t care. They were determined to see it through no matter what.

They felt that their target had to be punished for what he was doing. In their minds, he was doing something wrong and that it went against God’s rules for humanity. This was an unforgivable crime so their target had to be taught a lesson.

They walked up to the apartment and peered inside one of the windows. When they saw that the household occupant was focused on the TV they all smirked. This was their chance. They had to act right away while their target was still distracted.

Quickly, the group of men made their way to the front door where one of them got to work picking the lock. He worked as quietly as he possibly could but wasn’t too worried as the TV would provide enough cover for him. It was fairly loud so any clicks from the lock wouldn’t have been audible to the house’s occupant.

When the door was unlocked, the men kicked it open and charged inside. The man who was sitting on his couch jumped at the sudden sound. He scrambled to his feet just as the group of men barged into his living room. He was so shocked that he could barely say anything. He wanted to ask the men how they got in, why they were there and who they were but he never got a chance.

The moment the men laid eyes on the frightened man, the one who was appointed leader pointed at their target and told his group to get the man. They did as they were told and forced his arms behind his back then tired them together. He tried to fight them but they had the element of surprise on their side and they outnumbered him. He stood no chance.

After a failed attempt of breaking free, the man looked up at the leader and tried to ask what was going on but before he could speak, one of the men holding him punched him right on the jaw. He cried out in pain and looked down at the floor. He was scared of what they were going to do to him.

He had an idea of why they might have sought him out. He didn’t want to believe it but it was the only possible explanation. The only reason that made sense as to why they would have broken into his house and tied him up. People like the man were no stranger to violence but this was different… The man was afraid that this time he wouldn’t make it out alive and if he did, he might have been left permanently disfigured.

He didn’t dare look up at the men now. They didn’t hesitate to hit him for trying to speak. It was best that he didn’t say anything. If he wanted to make it out alive, no matter how slim that chance may be he had to remain quiet and do as the men said. Maybe, just maybe he would live to tell his story.

As scared as he was, the man didn’t struggle when the men hauled him to his feet and forced him out of the room. At first he thought that they were leading him out of the building and to a car but to his surprise, they didn’t. Instead of leaving the building, the men forced the frightened man out of the living room and down the hallway to his own bedroom.

They all made their way into the room where the man was thrown to the ground. He grunted when he landed and his first instinct was to try and get up but one of the men put his foot on his back and forced him back down. The man didn’t fight it. He accepted it. He thought that if he didn’t give these men a reaction then they would get bored of him and eventually leave. He hoped that would be the case. He prayed it was.

He did his best not to give the men any reactions even when they punched and kicked him. No matter what they did or said, he did his best to keep a neutral face but it was quite difficult. The men used more and more force in their kicks and kicked him all over. No place on his body was safe from the constant attacks. Tears rolled down his cheeks when the pain became unbearable but still he barely showed any reaction. It was hard but somehow he managed to suppress his reactions. He winced when a kick was so strong that it felt like it broke a bone. He could feel that his body was covered in bruises.

He breathed deeply in an attempt to calm down. He did his best to focus on anything other than the attack. He thought about the happy moments in his life. He thought about his friends and family and all of the good times they had together. The thought of possibly seeing his loved ones again kept his going.. He would endure this if it meant that he could see them after.

After some time, his tormentors grew tired. They weren’t getting the reaction they were hoping for and that wasn’t any fun. They hadn’t come there just to torture him. They were hoping to have some fun with it but what fun was it if their target didn’t scream or try to get away.

The leader brought this up to his companions and one of them had a solution to their problem. He told the leader that he would be right back before leaving the room. The group of men didn’t know what he was planning but let him be while they resumed the torture of their captive.

They decided to change things up. Two men grabbed the injured man and hoisted him up on his bed. Now they had an easier time punching him. They laughed amongst each other when he flinched or when more tears fell from his eyes.

To them, this man wasn’t human. He was different from them and was a big supporter of others just like him. They all thought that it was messed up. He shouldn’t have a place in the world if he was just going to spread and encourage the perversion. It wasn’t right and they wanted him to know that. They wanted everyone he associated with to know that what they were doing was wrong and that they could go to hell for it if they wanted but they shouldn’t be encouraging others down their path.

When the man came back to the room, this group noticed that he was holding something. It was an iron. The man held it up and smirked. He told the group that it had been charged up as it was cordless and he had just filled it up. His group all let out small cheers and said how this would definitely get them the reaction they were looking for.

They stepped aside and let the man walk up to their victim. He was still lying on his bed and he was covered from head to toe with injuries. His face was soaked in tears and he was in so much pain that even breathing hurt. By now he just wanted it all to end. He didn’t care if he was killed. He just wanted the pain to end. He tried his best to hold out but he had reached his breaking point. When he saw the iron and heard it click as it was turned on he began to panic.

He tried to scoot away when the man approached but he was too injured. He didn’t even move an inch before the other man grabbed him and pressed the now hot iron into his flesh. Now the man began to scream. He thought the pain couldn’t get any worse but he was proven wrong. He continued to scream as the iron was applied to other parts of his body but the worst was his face.

He tried to shove the man off but his companions held the man down. They all laughed. Since they didn’t see him as a human they had no trouble doing these horrific things. In their minds, they were doing nothing wrong but they knew the law said otherwise. However, they also knew that the law would most likely side with them once the truth of who the man was got out. Even if they did get caught, they felt confident that nothing would happen to them.

After many burns, kicks and beatings, the man grew too weak to scream anymore. His throat was sore and his body was weak. He had cried until no more tears formed. Now the men felt like they had enough. It was time they wrapped it up and got going. The last thing they wanted was to be caught. They had stayed there long enough. They didn’t want to risk someone walking in on them if the man lived with someone or was expecting visitors.

Before they departed, they had to finish off the man first. One man took out a hammer that he had brought with him and used it to hit the man’s feet. He cried out again but it was weak. He had been through so much and was in so much pain that he was barely even able to whimper at this point. The man whacked him a few more times with the hammer before another grabbed the man’s head and turned it to the side suddenly. All of the men heard a loud crack and knew that his neck was broken. He died instantly.

His name was Eric Ohena Lemembe and he was only 33 years old.

AFTERMATH

On the 15th of July, 2013 friends of Eric went to his apartment to check on him after not being able to get in touch for two days. When they arrived they saw a padlock on his front door. One of the friends looked in the window and could see the body of Eric inside. They quickly called the police to report the crime scene.

Unfortunately, the investigators didn’t do their jobs properly as no photos or fingerprints were taken at the crime scene and even the medical certificate left out many of the injuries that covered Eric’s body.

The case was originally assigned to the police from the 1st district of Yaoundé but was then passed to the National Security Central Administration. Eventually the case was presented to an investigating judge. About a year after the crime took place, the judge summoned Eric’s mother, sister and brother. His family had been what can only be described as intimidation by the police and some of them were even arrested at the start of the investigation.

No motive has been determined but those who knew Eric say that it was a homophobic attack which the authorities fail to see. By doing so, they are showing others that they can carry out homophobic hate crimes and get away with it which is the wrong message. Neela Ghoshal from Human Rights Watch has said that “the police should not rest until the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice. President Biya should break his silence on the wave of homophobic violence in Cameroon and publicly condemn this brutal attack”.

Friends of Eric suspect that his murder was done by someone who wanted to kill the LGBTQ+ movement. The year after Eric’s murder, LGBTQ+ activists in Cameroon were the victims of death threats. They filed police reports but it never went further than that. There were no interrogations of arrests.

Neela Ghoshal has said that while she doesn’t know if Eric’s murder will ever be solved but that even if someone kills an activist, they can’t kill the movement for freedom and equality.

“Eric’s legacy will live on. One day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people will live free and equal in Cameroon.” - Neela Ghoshal, Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program.

IN LIFE

Eric Ohena Lemebre was one of the most prominent and outspoken activists for the LGBTQ+ community in Cameroon, one of the most hostile countries in Africa for the LGBTQ+ community.

He worked as a journalist and executive director of a human rights organization called Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS). This organization’s mission was to defend the rights for the LGBTQ+ community and people who were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Eric would document the mistreatment gay people suffered in Cameroon. He wrote about the violence they faced, the blackmail they received and their arrests.

On the behalf of CAMFAIDS, Eric collaborated with Human Rights Watch along with two Cameroonian organizations called Alternatives-Cameroun and Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (ADEFHO).

In March of 2013, he helped with researching for and launching a report that talked about prosecutions of consensual sex between homosexuals.

In May of 2013 he participated in drafting a submission for Cameroon’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

He was a regular contributor to a site called Erasing 76 Crimes which focused on anti-gay laws from around the world.

He also worked alongside Colin Stewart, Miles Tanhira, Andy Kopsa, Rachel Adams, Clare Byarugaba, and Albert Ogle on a book titled “From Wrongs to Gay Rights: Cruelty and change for LGBT people in an uncertain world”. He wrote several chapters and the book talks about struggles that the LGBTQ+ community faces in countries where their sexuality is still criminalized.

“Eric was an inspiring activist whose work was deeply appreciated by human rights activists in Cameroon and around the world. Advocating for equal rights in Cameroon, where LGBTI people face severe discrimination and violence, takes tremendous courage. Eric’s activism paved the way for a society based on equality and nondiscrimination.” - Neela Ghoshal, Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. An Assault on a Movement: The Killing of Eric Lembembe”. Damian Ugwu. Huffington Post, 22 August 2013, updated 2 February 2016, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/an-assault-on-a-movement_b_3792598?utm_hp_ref=email_share.

  2. CAMEROON: Assassination of Eric Ohena Lembembe, the investigation remains at a standstill”. Human Rights Defenders. International Federation for Human Rights, 11 July 2014, https://www.fidh.org/en/region/Africa/cameroon/15738-cameroon-assassination-of-eric-ohena-lembembe-the-investigation-remains-at.

  3. Cameroon gay rights activist found tortured and killed”. Afua Hirsch. The Guardian, 18 July 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/18/cameroon-gay-rights-activist-killed.

  4. Cameroon: LGBTI Rights Activist Found Dead, Tortured”. Human Rights Watch, 16 July 2013, https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/07/16/cameroon-lgbti-rights-activist-found-dead-tortured.

  5. Cameroon must investigate gay rights activist killing - groups”. Reuters, 19 July 2013, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-cameroon-activist/cameroon-must-investigate-gay-rights-activist-killing-groups-idUKBRE96I0OG20130719.

  6. Cameroonian LGBT rights advocate murdered”. Michael K. Lavers. Washington Blade, 16 July 2013, https://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/07/16/cameroonian-lgbt-rights-advocate-murdered/.

  7. Cameroon's Eric Lembembe: Gay rights activist 'murdered'”. BBC News, 16 July 2013, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-23331832.

  8. Couragous Camaroonian Activist Killed Following Months of Anti-Gay Attacks”. Joe Mirabella. Huffington Post, 17 July 2013, updated 2 February 2016, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/eric-ohena-lembembe-killed_b_3608052.

  9. Eric Ohena Lembembe”. Human Rights Defenders Memorial, https://hrdmemorial.org/hrdrecord/eric-ohena-lembembe/.

  10. Gay activist tortured, killed in Cameroon”. Joe Morgan. Gay Star News, 16 July 2013, https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-activist-tortured-killed-cameroon160713/.

  11. Gay Rights Activist Killed in Cameroon”. Jase Peeples. Advocate, 16 July 2013, https://www.advocate.com/crime/2013/07/16/gay-rights-activist-killed-cameroon.

  12. Processing the Murder of Eric Ohena Lembembe”. Neela Ghoshal. Human Rights Watch, 17 July 2013, https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/07/17/processing-murder-eric-ohena-lembembe.

  13. Prominent Gay Rights Activist Tortured And Killed In Cameroon”. CBC News, 17 July 2013, https://www.cbc.ca/strombo/news/prominent-gay-rights-activist-tortured-and-killed-in-cameroon.html.

  14. Prominent gay rights activist tortured, killed in Cameroon”. Dan Littauer. LGBTQ Nation, 16 July 2013, https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/07/prominent-gay-rights-activist-tortured-killed-in-cameroon/.

Image

  1. Eric Ohena Lembembe. CBC News, https://www.cbc.ca/strombo/news/prominent-gay-rights-activist-tortured-and-killed-in-cameroon.html.

Day 28: Sherlyn Montoya

Photo from Dosmanzanas.com

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, brutality, beating, torture, alledged homophobic hate crime, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This story was written on the 28th of June, 2020 and so far no arrests have been made in connection to the case. This story will be updated if and when new information on the case is published.

It was late at night on the 2nd of April, 2017 in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Most people were at home and getting ready for bed if they weren’t asleep already. It was the end of the weekend. Everyone wanted to get a full night’s rest for the next day. Mondays were hard for many people, especially teenagers and young adults who just wanted to spend their nights with friends.

Late that night, a young woman was on her way home from a long night. She had just finished a drag show in which she was a performer and she had a great time. She had spent her night surrounded by friends and a supportive community. Living in a country where the LGBTQ+ community was looked down upon and violence was common, it was nice to be with people who not only accepted you but who were just like you. The young woman had found a home there and life was looking good for her.

On her way home, she stopped off at a gas station. It was on the way and she needed to pick some things up and fill up the gas of the family car. She parked the car in the parking lot then got her purse and went into the gas station. She picked up a few groceries that she and her family really needed for the next day that she had completely forgotten to pick up earlier that day before her show.

When she got what she needed she went to the cash and paid for everything she had. She bought the gas and filled up the car. While she waited for the tank to fill up, she put the bags of groceries in the back seat of the car. When the tank was full, the young woman got ready to get in her car but a noise behind her stopped her in her tracks.

She turned around to see what had caused the mysterious noise and came face to face with a small group of men. Most of them had serious looks on their faces while some had smirks. Their expressions sent chills down the young woman’s back. It was clear to her that these men had ill intentions. They gave her the creeps and instantly made her feel uncomfortable. As far as she knew, she didn’t know any of the men. They had never met before that night.

She calmly asked them what they wanted and if she could help. The man who appeared to be the leader stared at her for a moment as he pondered the question. It looked like he was making up his mind and deciding on how he was going to respond. After a few moments, he finally spoke. He told the young woman that in fact, she could help them. All she would need to do was to follow them.

Of course, the young woman declined. It was late at night and these men were strangers. She politely declined the men and said that she really had to go home. Her family was expecting her and she was quite tired. The men didn’t like that response so again, they told her to go with them. They promised her that it would be worth her while but again she refused. She tried to be as polite as possible to these men. She couldn’t take any chances with them. One wrong move and they might try to harm her.

When the young woman didn’t seem to give in, the men decided to take matters into their own hands. The leader approached the woman while the others surrounded her to prevent her from leaving. Now she was on high alert. This was serious and she had to be very careful on how she proceeded. She looked up at the leader and asked him what was going on. He simply replied that she was being rude for refusing to go with them. He said that she needed to be taught a lesson.

Her eyes widened in fear. She knew what he was implying. He spoke in a sinister voice with a creepy looking grin on his face. The woman didn’t want any part of that.

She tried to run past him but the other men were quick to line up, shoulder to shoulder which prevented her from escaping. When she tried to get past them, two of the men grabbed her while another put a burlap sack over her head. She tried to scream but she was so surprised from the action that she was unable to let out a loud enough scream for people to hear. She struggled against the men but she was no match for them. She was out numbered and they were stronger than her. No matter how much she fought against them, it was no use.

The men dragged her away from the area to where there wasn’t any light. A good distance away from the gas station was the vehicle the men had arrived in. They had not intended to take this woman or anyone for that matter that night but when they saw her they decided to go for it. They knew that from the moment they saw her, she was different but not in a good way. She was different from others in the community and her kind were not welcome in “their” community. To the men, people like the young woman were not accepted and in their opinion, had no place among them. When they saw the woman, the men decided to show this young woman where her place was.

After shoving her in their car, they drove away to a building that they had designated as their little hide out or meet up spot. It wasn’t too close to other buildings so even if the woman started to scream loudly, no one would have been able to hear her. They hadn’t planned to use the building as a place to take people but it was the perfect spot.

When they arrived, the car stopped and the men got out. They forced the frightened young woman out of the car. The bag was still over her head making it impossible for her to see anything. The men shoved her in the general direction they wanted her to go. She went without hesitation. She had no choice but to do what they wanted her to. They were in control and she was blind. She was at their mercy.

She tried to stay brave but deep down she was terrified. She had no clue where she was or what the men were going to do to her. It was scary. No one said anything except for telling her to keep walking. They did so in a firm and very cold voice. At one point she was sure she could hear one of them chuckle when she stumbled on her way to her destination.

When they reached the room where she was to be held, the men forced her to sit down on a chair where they tied her up. She wanted to fight back against them but fear kept her still. If she resisted them, would they kill her? Turture her? She didn’t want to find out so she complied with every request and demand they made.

The men kept the young woman waiting hours and hours before interacting with her. It started off with just taunting her but when she didn’t give them the reaction they wanted it progressed into kicking then punching. Those started off lightly but eventually grew stronger and stronger the longer the young woman remained silent. The only sounds that came from her were small whimpers which was her reaction to the pain she felt from the kicks and hits. She didn’t speak a single word to her kidnappers out of fear.

Over a day later, the pain was overwhelming. The young woman had been subjected to all sorts of physical pain. The men had surrounded her and all of them took turns beating her. She could hear them laugh the entire time they did this. It was sickening and infuriating. She couldn’t believe that these monsters could be so cruel for seemingly no reason. They hadn’t even alluded to a reason as to why they kidnapped her. Perhaps it was just for their amusement which made them horrible and sick.

Underneath the sack on her head, tears were streaming down her face. She was unbelievably terrified. She just wanted all of this to end. It wouldn’t have mattered if they let her go or killed her. She just wanted the experience to end.

After many hours of the torture, her kindappers finally got tired of her. She wasn’t showing much reaction to the kicking and hitting. They grew tired of her quickly and thought that the best thing to do was to get rid of her.

One of the men left the room and came back with a rope in hand. He looked at the other men in the room and they all nodded. The man with the rope smirked and approached the young woman. She heard his footsteps as he grew closer. She tensed up as she tried to process what was going on. She was afraid to find out.

When the man made his way behind her he very suddenly wrapped the rope around her neck. She tensed up when she felt the rope tighten around her. She coughed and choked. She tried to get as much air as she could but her hands were bound. She couldn't fight back or attempt to loosen the rope. All she could do was sit there and feel the air escape her lungs. It was a terrifying feeling.

The young woman became lightheaded after minutes of strangulation. Eventually her eyes began to close and her head bobbed to the side. Her kidnappers knew she was close to death. The man continued to tighten the rope until she stopped moving then continued to hold it until he no longer saw her chest rise and fall. He held the rope in place until he was sure that she was dead.

Her name was Sherlyn Montoya and she was only 29 years old.

AFTERMATH

The body of Sherlyn Montoya was found two days after she went missing. She had been wrapped in burlap sacks and dumped in an alley located near the gas station where she was last seen.

She was killed by unknown people who are still free. She was working to support her elderly mother and 3 nieces at the time of her death.

Organizations such as The National Network of Human Rights Defenders, the Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders and the European Union have asked the country of Honduras to look into the case and arrest those responsible for the brutal murder.

Other groups who have demanded justice are: Asociación LGTB Arcoíris de Honduras, Grupo de Mujeres Transexuales (Muñecas Arcoíris), Grupo Lésbico Bisexual LITOS and Grupo de Hombres Transexuales (Muñecos Arcoíris). All of them are Honduran LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.

As of June 2020, there have been no arrests in this case.

IN LIFE

Sherlyn Montoya was a drag performer and an active activist for the LGBTQ+ community. She was a member of a group called the Asociación LGBT Arcoíris (LGBT Rainbow Association) which focused on advocating issues of trandgender women in Honduras.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. El asesinato de la activista trans Sherlyn Montoya golpea de nuevo a la comunidad LGTB hondureña”. Flick. Dosmanzanas, 13 April 2017, https://www.dosmanzanas.com/2017/04/el-asesinato-de-la-activista-trans-sherlyn-montoya-golpea-de-nuevo-a-la-comunidad-lgtb-hondurena.html.

  2. Hallan muerto con signos de tortura a un travesti en Tegucigalpa”. La Prensa, 4 April 2017, https://www.laprensa.hn/sucesos/1059507-410/hallan-muerto-con-signos-de-tortura-a-un-travesti-en-tegucigalpa.

  3. Honduran Trans Activist Strangled Amid Rising Hate Crimes”. teleSUR, 12 April 2017, https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Honduran-Trans-Activist-Strangled-Amid-Rising-Hate-Crimes-20170412-0027.html.

  4. Killing of LGBTI rights defender Sherlyn Montoya”. Front Line Defenders, 7 April 2017, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-sherlyn-montoya.

  5. “La Diva”a la que le apagaron sus sueños este día en la capital hondureña”. Redaccion Web. Tiempo Digital, 4 April 2017, https://tiempo.hn/sherlyn-montoya-la-diva-que-le-apagaron-sus-suenos-este-dia-en-la-capital-hondurena/.

  6. Asesinan a Sherlyn Montoya, defensora de derechos trans”. Astrolabio, 18 April 2017, https://www.astrolabio.com.mx/asesinan-a-sherlyn-montoya-defensora-de-derechos-trans/.

  7. Trans activist murdered in Honduras”. Ernesto Valle. Washington Blade, 10 April 2017, https://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/04/10/trans-activist-murdered-honduras/.

  8. Trans woman strangled to death after drag show in Honduras”. Joe Morgan. Gay Star News, 12 April 2017, https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/trans-woman-strangled-death-drag-show-honduras/.

Image

  1. Sherlyn Montoya. Dosmanzanas, https://www.dosmanzanas.com/2017/04/el-asesinato-de-la-activista-trans-sherlyn-montoya-golpea-de-nuevo-a-la-comunidad-lgtb-hondurena.html.

Day 26: René Martínez

Photo from Democratic Underground

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, beating, brutality, strangulation, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This case happened back in 2016 and this article was written in June 2020. So far there haven’t been any arrests in the case.

It was a regular day in the Chamelecón neighbourhood in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It was nearing the end of the work day for most people while others were getting ready for their shifts if they worked a night shift. It was just a regular day for the residents who thought nothing of it. There were the usual issues with the gangs in the area but the people were so used to it that they hardly registered it anymore. The gangs were just a part of life for them.

One man was just arriving home from work. It had been a long day and all he wanted was to take a nice long shower then relax in front of the TV. He had gotten so much work during the day and there was still so much more that needed to be done. He lived a very busy life but he never complained. In fact, he rather enjoyed it because what he did helped many people in his area and even his country. It was rewarding despite how drained he felt after certain days.

He stepped out of his car then locked it. Just as he was about to take a step towards the house he heard a car racing down the street. He didn’t really think too much about it. Gang members were known to speed down streets or it could have just been some crazy, out of control young adults. Whoever they were pulled up quickly to his driveway. Their vehicle screeched to a halt and two doors slammed open.

The man heard the commotion behind him and turned around to see what was going on. He didn’t have time to process anything. As soon as he turned, two people wearing masks grabbed him by the arms and began to drag him to the car. He called out to them and asked them what was going on and what was the meaning of this. Why were they doing this to him? What he had done to gain their attention? He got no answer from any of them. They simply forced him into the backseat and slammed the doors behind them.

Even before the doors clicked into place the vehicle speed off down the road. The man who had been taken was in such shock that he didn’t even have any words. He just sat there with wide eyes in between two masked figures as they sped off. He didn’t dare look at them. He was afraid of what they would do if he made eye contact. They had been rough with him already. He didn’t want to aggravate the situation. He looked down at his feet as the car drove off.

Just after the car vanished down the street, the other occupants of the house began to panic. They had seen everything through the window. They saw their loved one being forced into a car with these masked people. Even if they wanted to do something, they knew they couldn’t. Who knows what those people would have done to anyone who dared interfered. The only thing they could do was to watch helplessly as their loved one was taken away but once the car disappeared, one of the occupants ran right to the house phone. They picked it up and called the police to report what had just happened.

When the police arrived the people told them what they had seen and described the car and the occupants as best as they could. They had made sure to remember as much as possible but the police weren’t too sure if they could track down the car but they promised the family that they would do their best. They told the family to remain calm, lock their doors and windows and to not give up hope. They would do the best with the information they had and wouldn’t stop until they found the man. That provided them some relief but they were still worried.

~ 🏳️‍🌈 ~

In the car, one of the men pulled a pillowcase over the frightened man’s head while the other tied his hands together with a zip tie. He secured it as tightly as possible which hurt but the man didn’t dare say anything. He had to be very careful with what he said around these men. He wouldn’t be surprised if they beat him over the smallest annoyance.

So he sat there for the duration of the ride in complete silence. He didn’t move a muscle or utter a word. His kidnappers didn’t say anything either. They didn’t even taunt him which he thought to be odd. Surely they would have said something to try and intimidate him but no. The whole ride was quiet and very tense.

When they finally arrived at their destination the man was forcefully pulled from the car and shoved in a direction. He was disoriented as they refused to take off the pillowcase but tried his best to remain calm. He regained his footing and went in the direction he was guided in.

He could tell that they had taken him into a building but he wasn’t sure how big or small it was. He could tell that there wasn’t much light as the pillowcase still allowed him to see the changes in light but nothing else.

He was forced to sit on a chair and did it without hesitation. He knew that the less he fought them, the higher chance he had of making it out of the situation alive. When he was seated he could feel that his legs were bound together. This was probably done as a precaution to keep him from running away but even without the binding the man wouldn’t dare.

When all seemed to settle down, the man found the courage to talk again. He asked what was going on and nothing else. He didn’t want to annoy his kidnappers with being too chatty. He gulped as he waited for a response. The fact that he didn’t get one immediately worried him. Why weren’t they saying anything? Surely they brought him to their hideout for a reason. Were they going to interrogate him for information? Perhaps they wanted names of people in the LGBTQ+ community. It wouldn’t be that shocking if that was what they were after. Maybe they had a hit list and wanted to go after LGBTQ+ people. If that was the case then the man made up his mind. He wasn’t going to say a word even if it killed him. He couldn’t betray the community he loved so much so if he were to die then so be it.

~ 🏳️‍🌈 ~

His kidnappers kept him waiting for a long time. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed but it had to have been hours at least. Minutes could feel like hours if one didn’t know the time and couldn’t see the light of the sun but the man knew it wasn’t minutes that had passed since he arrived. He knew hours had passed but how many, he wasn’t sure. He guessed that maybe five hours had gone by but it could have been more.

Eventually one of them began to speak to him. They started off laughing at him because he looked so pathetic according to them. They were amused at the sight of the man tied up on the chair. The man didn’t flinch or react. He wanted to engage with the kidnappers as little as possible.

When the kidnapper didn’t get the reaction he was hoping for he tried again but to no avail. Angered, the kidnapper now resorted to kicking and punching the man while he continued to taunt him. Still he got no response. The kidnapper turned to his friends and asked what the hell was wrong with the man. Was he broken? Why didn’t anything affect him?

The other men in the room shrugged and suggested things the kidnapper could do to the man. They told him where to hit or kick him and soon his knife got involved. He took it out of his pocket and began to make little slices all over the man’s body. It wasn’t necessarily meant to draw blood but merely to torture him.

The men laughed and soon began asking the man some questions. They asked him why he wasn’t reacting or putting up a fight. They were curious. They asked him if he was afraid, even a little bit but the man refused to engage. He did his best to think of something positive. To pretend that he was somewhere else. He pretended that he was back home with his family and that they were together at the table talking about how their days went.

It almost brought a tear to his eye but he knew that he would return to them soon enough. In time his kidnappers would get bored of him and let him go. He just had to wait this out. Surely his family would have called the police by now. Perhaps they were on their way. He just had to hold on a little longer and then he would be free.

While he was off in his little world, he failed to hear anything his kidnappers were saying to him. This angered them when they didn’t get any response from the man. They continued to beat and cut him but still nothing worked.

After many, many hours they gave up. The man wasn’t talking and it seemed as if he wouldn’t. There was no point in continuing, they reasoned. It was best that they dispose of him since he was of no use to them.

One of the men got out a rope that he had been holding on to for some time and walked up to the prisoner with a smirk on his face. He wrapped the rope around the man’s neck and pulled as hard as he could. The man jerked at the sudden action and tried his best to fight back but he was no match. Not only was he tied up but he was a lot smaller and significantly weaker than the man with the rope. Even if he hadn't been tied up he wouldn’t have stood a chance.

It took some doing but soon the man stopped moving. He no longer struggled. His body went limp and he slouched in the chair but that wasn’t the end of it. He had passed out due to the lack of air but he was still alive. The man knew this so he kept the rope tightened around his neck for a bit longer. After a few more minutes had passed one of the other men came up and checked their prisoner’s pulse. He was dead.

His name was René Martínez and he was 40 years old.

AFTERMATH

René Martínez’s body was found two days later on the 3rd of June, 2016 in Colonia Canada, Choloma in Honduras which is not too far away from San Pedro Sula. After his body was found his family went to the San Pedro Sula’s morgue and identified him. His body showed signs of violence and the cause of death appears to be strangulation.

There is no clear clue as to the motivation behind the killing or who is responsible. As of June 2020, there has been no news on any arrests in the case.

IN LIFE

René Martínez was very popular in his hometown. He was described as one of the main defenders of the LGBTQ+ community. He even was considering running for Congress in 2017 with the Partido Nacional (National Party). He was an enthusiastic demoratic leader who did his best to improve the quality of life for the people in his community.

He worked in the same area where he lived, in the Chamelecón area of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. This area was one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods as it had a high gang presence.

He did many things to serve his community. He worked as the president of his community council, the Comunidad Gay Sampedrana por la Salud Integral (Gay Community of San Pedro Sula for Integral Health), conventional member of the National Party, volunteer youth outreach center supported by USAID, and was a member of the Access Committee for Comprehensive Care of Persons living with HIV in the Northern Coast which was also supported by UNAIDS.

In October of 2015, both USAID and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute sponsored a conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The conference focused on supporting the political engagement of the LGBTQ+ community in both Latin America and the Caribbean. Over 300 activists from across the region attended the gathering and René was one of them. Notable people who arrived were Randy Berry and Tamara Adrián who were with a Special U.S. Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons. Tamara Adrián is the first openly transgendered persion who has been elected into the Venezuelan National Assembly.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “Activists forge ahead in violence-plagued Honduras city”. Michael K. Lavers. Washington Blade, 20 February 2017, https://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/02/20/activists-forge-ahead-violence-plagued-honduras-city/.

  2. “CASE HISTORY: RENÉ MARTÍNEZ”. Frontline Defenders, 8 June 2016, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-rene-martinez.

  3. “Honduras Gay Rights Activist Rene Martinez Murdered”. Zachary Volkert. Inquisitr, 6 June 2016, https://www.inquisitr.com/3172662/honduras-gay-rights-activist-rene-martinez-murdered/.

  4. “Matan a presidente de la Comunidad Gay en San Pedro Sula”. La Prensa, 3 June 2016, https://www.laprensa.hn/sucesos/966575-410/matan-a-presidente-de-la-comunidad-gay-en-san-pedro-sula.

  5. “NDI MOURNS TRAGIC ASSASSINATION OF HONDURAN LGBTI ACTIVIST RENÉ MARTÍNEZ”. NDI, 21 June 2016, https://www.ndi.org/NDI_Mourns_Rene_Mart%C3%ADnez.

  6. “Prominent LGBT activist murdered in Honduras”. Michael K. Lavers. Washington Blade, 4 June 2016, https://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/06/04/prominent-lgbt-activist-murdered-in-honduras/.

  7. “René Martinez Izaguirre”. Human Rights Defenders Memorial, https://hrdmemorial.org/fr/hrdrecord/rene-martinez-izaguirre/.

  8. “Rene Martinez, Leader of LGBT Community in Honduras, Kidnapped and Murdered”. Andy Towle. Towleroad, 5 June 2016, https://www.towleroad.com/2016/06/rene-martinez/.

  9. “State Department condemns murder of LGBT activist in Honduras”. Michael K. Lavers. Washington Blade, 6 June 2016, https://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/06/06/state-department-condemns-murder-of-lgbt-activist-in-honduras/.

Images

  1. René Martínez. Democratic Underground. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10141480353.

Day 25: Eudy Simelane

Photo from Friends of a Friend - Eudy Simelane on Facebook

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, beating, stabbing, knife attack, sexual assault, rape, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


It was early in the morning of the 28th of April, 2008 in the township of KwaThema located in South Africa. It was still dark outside although it wouldn’t last much longer. In the next two hours or so the sun would begin to rise and would light up the world. At this hour, people were stumbling out of bars and laughing with their friends. They had spent most of the night out drinking and having fun but now it was time for them to return home however it was quieter than most nights. It was a Monday morning so the majority of people in the town were still at home and in bed. The only ones who were out drinking were people who were lucky enough to have the day off or students who just didn’t care.

One pub in the area was growing increasingly quiet as its customers began to leave for the night. Many of them were quite drunk and those who arrived with friends were leaning on each other for support. There were a few who were still a bit sober but they left the bar earlier than the drunken customers.

One customer was a young woman who was a bit tipsy but not drunk by any means. She was still capable of navigating the world around her and she wasn’t about to forget what happened during the night. Her head was still quite clear but she did have a little buzz. She paid for her drink then gathered up her belongings and made her way to the entrance of the pub.

She had arrived there earlier that night with her friends but eventually they all departed and left her to her own devices. She was fine with that. They had jobs they needed to get ready for and she wondered how they were going to get through after being out for most of the night. She smiled to herself as she suspected many cups of coffee would be involved.

As the young woman walked away from the pub, a small group of men approached her. She quickly did a head count and saw that there were four in total. They all looked to be her age if not a bit younger. They quickly surrounded her making her stop in her tracks. She looked at one who held himself like he was the leader and asked him what was going on. She had met him before but she would hardly call him a friend. He was more of an acquaintance.

He looked her right in the eye and seemed to be studying her. He could probably smell the slight alcohol coming from her and was trying to determine how drunk she was. She thought he was acting a bit odd but thought nothing of it. She gave him a polite smile while trying to ignore the three other men who seemed to be quickly growing closer. She wondered if they knew anything about one’s personal space.

When one got a bit too close for her liking she turned her head towards him and in a firm voice told him to step back because he was too close. It made her uncomfortable. That comment seemed to get to not just that one man but the entire group. The atmosphere suddenly grew tense between them and the men looked at the one who acted as the leader.

He crossed his arms across his chest and looked at the young woman. It appeared as if he was glaring daggers at her and wondered how to proceed with the situation. He gave it a thought for a moment then turned to his buddies and nodded. They nodded in return and this confused the young woman. She had no clue what this behaviour was about. Had they agreed to something before? Perhaps she was overthinking the situation. They probably had plans and just remembered them. They were probably just going. It made her relax and she was about to leave when one of the men grabbed her by the arm.

He shouted at her and asked her where she thought she was going. Confused, she turned to him and said that she thought they were done. She wanted to go back home and go to bed. She was tired and just wanted some sleep. The men chuckled at that and told her that she wasn’t going anywhere.

She was frightened now. She didn’t know any of them well enough to possibly guess what their intentions were. It frightened her. She tried to pull herself free from the man’s grasp but he wouldn’t let go. He had a strong grip on her arm which only tightened the more she struggled. She didn’t want to make a scene at first but now felt like she had no choice. She was afraid of what these men might do to her. This was no time to remain silent any longer.

She prepared to call out for help but the men were quick to figure out her plan. It was almost as if they anticipated this. It was like they planned this from start to finish and every possible outcome. Before she could let out a scream, one of the men covered her mouth with his hand while another got out a cloth which he tied around the lower half of her face. This prevented her from calling out for help. Even if she did manage to make any noise then it wouldn’t have been loud enough for anyone to hear her. There wasn’t much she could do now. All she could really do was try to fight them off but the men easily restrained her. She was helpless.

They managed to tie her hands up despite her attempts to fight them off and when she was properly restrained, one of the men picked her up and carried her off to another location while his buddies followed him. The woman’s legs remained free so she tried kicking him to get him to drop her but he didn’t. He ignored the kicking as if it didn’t even bother him. She tried kicking as hard as she could but still he didn’t react. She screamed despite the cloth that was tied around her mouth. She tried desperately to free herself but nothing worked.

A sense of dread filled her when they arrived at an open field. She didn’t know exactly what their plans or motives were but she had a good guess as to what they were. She knew that there was only one reason why a group of men would bring her to an isolated place such as the field. There was just one reason and it terrified her.

When the man set her down the cloth around her face loosened and fell around her neck. Now that he mouth was no longer covered she begged to be let go. She begged to be spared. She pleaded with them not to hurt her. The men surrounded her to keep her from running and they all smirked as she pleaded. They found it entertaining.

One of the men told the woman that they were going to have so much fun with her. Her eyes widened when he said that. She knew what he was referring to and that was the last thing she wanted. She screamed out when the men began grabbing her clothes and groping her. She tried backing away but there was nowhere to go.

She continued to plead with them but her pleas fell on deaf ears. They wanted to have their way with her and it seemed as if nothing was going to stop that. Tears streamed down her face when she realized that there was no stopping the men. All she could do was sit there and cry as her clothes were ripped from her body. She was forced to lie down on the ground and her limbs were pinned down by three men while the fourth forced himself on her.

She screamed at the top of her lungs. She begged him to let her go. She tried pulling her arms free. She did everything she could think of. The men simply laughed at her and said that by the end of this she would finally be a real woman. In the back of her mind she knew what they were referring to but she was so scared that she couldn’t even think about that. The only thing on her mind was somehow escaping and going to the police.

She wanted the men behind bars for what they were going to her. They were disgusting human beings if they could even be called that. They got off from the suffering of another person. They were enjoying it.

They were sick.

The young woman finally gave up after what felt like forever. The men saw it as a victory and continued all why the woman lay limp on the ground. Tears were pouring down her face and she tried her best to think of anything other than her present. Anything would have been better than what she was experiencing. She closed her eyes and tried to go to a better place. She prayed for death to come and take her. She wanted nothing more than for her suffering to end.

When they men were done they began talking about what to do with her. They didn’t want to let her go. One of them said that she would just go to the cops so if they wanted to get away with the crime then they would have to kill her. This snapped the woman back to reality. She began screaming again and begging to be let go. She promised not to go to the cops but the men didn’t believe her. They knew she would and by now they were getting very frustrated with all of the noise she was making.

One of the men pulled out a knife he had and a second did the same. Only two of them had knives so the other two stepped aside and watched the scene unfold. The two who possessed knives approached the young woman with wide grins on their faces. She screamed at the top of her lungs and tried to scramble away but they grabbed her and pinned her down. They brought the sharp blades down on her and each time a knife punctured her flesh, she screamed. She screamed so loud that she thought her throat would tear open.

The pain rippled through her body. Her tears soaked her neck and upper chest. The salty water soon mixed with her blood. She tried to fight them off for as long as she could but soon the pain became overwhelming. She couldn’t bear it. The pain spread all over her body and soon it weakened her to the point where all she could do was cry.

The tears continued to pour down her face until one man dealt the final blow. One last stab was all it took. He stabbed her and she stopped moving. Her body went stiff for a very brief moment but then relaxed. She was dead.

Her name was Eudy Simelane and she was just 31 years old.

AFTERMATH

After the murder, the killers dragged her body to a nearby drainage ditch where she was dumped. She was then found sometime later and identified.

Four men were arrested for the crime but only two were convicted while the other two were aquitted. One man, aged 24, was convicted and given a life sentence for murder, 20 years for being an accomplice to rape and 15 years for robbery. The second man was sentenced for 32 years in prison. The two men who were acquitted were 22 and 18 years old.

This case is said to have been the first conviction for the crime of “corrective rape”.

IN LIFE

Eudy Simelane was the first woman to live openly as a lesbian in the township of KwaThema. Ever since she was a child, she loved football (soccer).

As an adult she played as a midfielder for the Banyana Banyana national women’s team of South Africa then worked as a coach and referee. At the time, the team struggled as it didn’t have nearly as much respect as the men’s team and one player even said that her team would often play with worn-out shoes. When she worked as a referee, Eudy came out and became an LGBTQ+ activist.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “Lesbians in South Africa: Raped for a Cure”. Queerty Staff. Queerty, 14 March 2009, https://www.queerty.com/lesbians-in-south-africa-raped-for-a-cure-20090314.

  2. “Life for killing lesbian activist”. News 24, 23 September 2009, https://www.news24.com/News24/Life-for-killing-lesbian-activist-20090923.

  3. “Life for man in rape and killing of lesbian South African footballer”. David Smith. The Guardian, 22 September 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/sep/22/eudy-simelane-gangrape-and-murder.

  4. “Mother of slain lesbian footballer Eudy Simelane passes away”. Roberto Igual. Mamba Online, 17 April 2019, https://www.mambaonline.com/2019/04/17/mother-of-slain-lesbian-footballer-eudy-simelane-passes-away/.

  5. “Murder of a black lesbian soccer player”. Outsports Archives. Outsports, 15 May 2008, https://www.outsports.com/2008/5/15/4045688/murder-of-a-black-lesbian-soccer-player.

  6. “Raped and killed for being a lesbian: South Africa ignores 'corrective' attacks”. Annie Kelly. The Guardian, 12 March 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/mar/12/eudy-simelane-corrective-rape-south-africa.

  7. “Raped for being gay: Scourge of South African sex attacks which men claim will 'cure' women of being lesbians”. Liz Hazelton. Daily Mail, 31 October 2011, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2055289/Corrective-rape-South-Africa-women-attcked-cure-lesbians.html.

  8. “Relief as lesbian's killer jailed”. BBC News, 23 September 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8270417.stm.

  9. “SHOCK AT MURDER OF EUDY SIMELANE”. Staff Writer. Mamba Online, 30 April 2008, https://www.mambaonline.com/2008/04/30/shock-at-murder-of-eudy-simelane/.

  10. “SOUTH AFRICA: STATEMENT BY PAULA ETTELBRICK ON THE KILLING OF FORMER BANYANA BANYANA SOCCER PLAYER EUDY SIMELANE”. OutRight Action International, 5 May 2008, https://outrightinternational.org/content/south-africa-statement-paula-ettelbrick-killing-former-banyana-banyana-soccer-player-eudy.

  11. “South African Soccer Star Eudy Simelane’s Accused Murders Will Finally Stand Trial”. Queerty Staff. Queerty, 26 August 2009, https://www.queerty.com/south-african-soccer-star-eudy-simelanes-accused-smurders-will-finally-stand-trial-20090826.

  12. “Three on trial for murder of gay football star”. Jonathan Clayton. Independant, 26 August 2009, https://www.independent.ie/world-news/africa/three-on-trial-for-murder-of-gay-football-star-26561131.html.

  13. “'We can finally forgive her killers' – Eudy Simelane's family”. News24 Correspondent. News 24, 13 April 2016, https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/we-can-finally-forgive-her-killers-eudy-simelanes-family-20160413.

  14. “1 of Eudy Simelane’s Killers Was Sentenced to Life. 2 Others Walked Free”. Queerty Staff. Queerty, 23 September 2009, https://www.queerty.com/1-of-eudy-simelanes-killers-was-sentenced-to-life-2-others-walked-free-20090923.

Image

  1. Eudy Simelane. Friends of a Friend - Eudy Simelane. Facebook, 12 March 2016, https://www.facebook.com/1564820093830984/photos/a.1565311407115186/1565311410448519/?type=3&theater.

Day 24: FannyAnn Viola Eddy

Photo from Find a Grave

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, sexual assault, rape, brutality, beating, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


There is still limited information on the case despite the amount of time that has passed. There is next to no mention of who killed her or convictions.

It was a calm night on the 28th of September, 2004 in the city of Freetown located in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In an office building in the town, one person had stayed behind long after her staff and all employees had gone home. She could have gone home too but she was so absorbed in her work that she didn’t want to leave just yet. She was passionate about what she did and when she got started, she found it hard to stop until her work was complete.

As the young woman worked, a group of three men approached the building. Outside was dark with only the street lamps to light their way. While there was a decent amount of light from the street lamps, the men were still hidden in the darkness. They kept to the darkest areas they could find and wore dark clothing. That made them almost invisible to anyone who would have looked in their general direction but luckily for them, due to the late hour no one was in the area except for them. Everyone was already home and getting ready for bed.

No one was there to witness the group of men as they walked up to the office building. One had brought a crowbar which they held firmly in one hand. The man looked around to be sure that no one was around except for his crew and when he was sure that they were alone, he used the crowbar to pry open a door. It took a little effort but he managed to get it open.

Once the door was open the group of men rushed into the building and looked around. They were looking for their target. They knew that she would be the only one there or should be but if there were others then they were prepared to deal with them. Luckily for the men, it appeared as if no one else was in the building. All of the lights were off and it seemed devoid of any signs of life. The only light source came from one room and that was where their target was located.

The men walked as silently as they could towards the room. They were able to see the light from underneath the closed door so they knew that was where she was. They all looked at each other when they were standing next to the door and nodded. When they did, one of the group members kicked open the door and the three men ran inside.

The young woman who was in her office jumped when the door slammed open. She screamed when she saw the group of men run towards her. Her immediate reaction was to jump up from her desk and to try and run away. She had no clue who these men were or what their intentions were. If they were there to rob the place then as far as she was concerned, they could take whatever they wanted. Nothing was more valuable than her life. Her focus was finding the best route out of the room then out of the building.

She tried to run past one of the men as she assumed he was going for one of the more valuable items lying on a desk but he didn’t. Instead, he lunged at her and grabbed her arm causing her to scream. She tried to pull away but he kept a firm grasp on her. He held on so tightly that she felt as if it would leave a bruise later.

She screamed at the man to let her go. She told the group that they could take whatever they wanted. She just wished that they would let her go but one of the men informed her that wasn’t their plan. She looked up in horror at the one who seemed to be the leader as he approached her. She continued to struggle and free herself from her captor but still he kept a firm grip on her. Her struggles only grew the closer the leader got and when he was within arms length, he slapped her across the face and demanded that she stopped struggling but she refused. That angered him.

He grabbed the woman by her other arm and yanked her from the grasp of his fellow group member. With as much force as he could he threw her against a nearby desk in hopes that would slow her down but if anything, it made her more determined to get away. She was becoming more frightened by the second. Her instincts told her that she had to leave if she wanted to leave. She got on her hands and knees and tried to crawl away but she was hurting from the force of the impact. It made it difficult for her to move around which gave her attacker plenty of time to walk up to her and grab her by her hair.

She continued to scream and trash about but instead of this making the man let her go, it just continued to fuel his anger towards her. Eventually, he and his group had enough of her. They didn’t come to deal with a screaming woman. They had a plan to carry out so that was what they were going to do.

The man threw her to the floor this time and pressed his foot down on her stomach to keep her down. She tried hitting his leg to throw him off balance but the more she hit the more pressure he applied until it was physically impossible to add anymore. She began to cough a bit under the compression.

She looked up at the men who were now surrounding her. By now her screams had turned to tears. She was afraid. She was afraid of what was to come. Now that she knew that these men were not robbers and in fact had come for her, she feared for what was to come. She had an idea of what their intentions were and if it wasn’t to kill her… The thought brought panic to her. She preferred that they just killed her right then and there.

With a brave face she looked up at the leader and told him to just kill her. Clearly they had come with the intention to harm her so they might as well just kill her right away and be done with it but the men had other plans in mind. They told her that just killing her wouldn’t be any fun. That would have been boring. The leader said that in time they would end her life but in the meantime they were going to “enjoy themselves”. Her eyes widened when she heard that. She knew what they meant and she didn’t want it to happen.

She resumed fighting the men. She kicked and punched and screamed again. She screamed for help at the top of her lungs even though she knew it was useless. She and her attackers were the only ones in the building. No one was there to hear her or come to her aid. Even if someone was walking on the streets, they wouldn’t have been able to hear her cries. She was on her own. She was alone in the room with the men who had surrounded her.

When she realized that it was useless to fight, she broke down. Tears poured down her face. They streamed down her cheeks and neck as she felt her clothes being torn from her body. She did put up some resistance but there wasn’t much she could do about it. She couldn’t fight back. Both her arms and legs had been pinned down. She was helpless. All she could do was cry.

She pleaded with the men to let her go. She wouldn’t tell anyone about what had happened if they just let her go. They said nothing and laughed at her. They went through with their plan while she had no choice but to endure it. It hurt. Everything hurt. She continued to plead with them. She knew it was hopeless but that didn’t stop her from trying.

Her tears soaked the collar of her shirt as the men had their way with her. It was a horrible experience. She wanted to die. She wished they would kill her so she wouldn’t have to endure this torture any longer but they kept her alive the entire time.

When they were done, she tried once more to get away. She felt like something came alive in her. She found the strength to kick and fight back. She managed to kick one of the men and it felt so satisfying to her when she heard him scream in pain. That gave her even more energy. She stood up and tried to locate the nearest possible exit but before she could even take one step, she felt a sharp pain originating in the back of her head.

She fell to the ground and with a dazed look on her face, she looked up. Standing behind her was one of the men holding a crowbar. She held her head in pain and didn’t put up a fight when she was hit again. She accepted it as she fell to the ground in even more pain.

As she laid there she heard a window smash but she was in too much pain to see what was going on. She assumed that the men were just creating an easy escape route but she soon found out that she was wrong. They weren’t trying to leave. They were just looking for a more efficient weapon…

After shattering the glass, one of the men picked up the biggest shard he could find and walked over to the woman. Underneath his mask he had a smirk on his face.

The woman barely had the energy to look up at him. All she was able to manage was to slightly turn her head and when she saw what was coming, she wished that she hadn’t. The man was looming over her and the glass shard gleamed in the dim light emanating from the single lamp in the room. Everything happened so quickly. The woman barely had time to process it.

The man raised the shard up before bringing it down towards the woman’s face. The sharp glass sliced her skin and she screamed out in pain. It hurt beyond description. She could feel her skin part as the glass sliced it’s way through and she could feel the blood gush from the wound. It wasn’t particularly deep but since it was on the face and it was a long cut there was quite a bit of blood. The smell of iron invaded her senses and it sickened her.

Her attackers laughed at her as she screamed in pain and terror. They were enjoying her suffering. It pleased them. Entertained them. It showed how sick these men were.

The man attacked her a few more times before another one approached her. He punched the screaming and crying woman in an attempt to shut her up but it didn’t work. By now all of them were fed up with her. None of them could believe that she was still making noise even after everything they had done to her.

One nodded to the man. That was the signal. They were sick of her now and wanted to get out of the building. They weren’t sure if someone had passed by and called the cops but they didn’t want to stick around to find out. They had done what they had come to do. It was time they departed.

The man grabbed the woman by the face and snapped her head to the side. He was the strongest of the group which is why he was the one who was chosen for this particular task. That sudden movement was all it took. The men heard a loud cracking sound and the woman went limp. She collapsed in the man’s grasp so he let her go and let her body fall to the ground. She was lifeless. She didn’t move. Her chest didn’t even rise signalling that she was no longer breathing. The men had completed their mission. Now it was time they left.

They grabbed everything that could possibly point the police to them and left from the same door they entered. The woman’s body remained on the ground where it was discovered the following day by her friends and coworkers the following morning.

Her name was FannyAnn Viola Eddy and she was just 30 years old.

AFTERMATH

There are conflicting reports on multiple sites about what happened after the murder and even about the murder itself. A majority of the sources say that FannyAnn Eddy was raped, stabbed then had her neck broken while at least one source said that wasn’t the case and that she was in fact strangled.

When it comes to after the murder, some sources say that no killer had been arrested in connection to the crime while others say a man known as Mr. Sankoh who was around 19 years of age at the time had been arrested. At least one source said that he was a janitor and former employee of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association office. Some sources say that he escaped and hasn’t been convicted for the murder.

No one else has been arrested and there hasn’t been a trial for the murder.

Police don’t consider it to be a hate crime while everyone who knew FannyAnn Eddy believe that it was.

IN LIFE

FannyAnn Eddy was known as a fearless leader of the LGBTQ+ community. She was known to use her own money to buy materials for young lesbian women so they could make clothes and various items they could sell to make a living. She spent much of her time going to schools to educate children about their own self worth. All of her work and courage made her well known throughout Africa and even other countries.

In 2002, FannyAnn Eddy founded the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association (SLLGA). This group provided both social and psychological support to people in the LGBTQ+ community in Sierra Leone. She was also a member of Sexual-Rights Activists Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, All Africa Rights Initiative (AARI) and the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL).

She testified in front of the U.N Commision on Human Rights in Geneva concerning the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Sierra Leone. She explained how they faced constant harassment and violence. She said that hate attacks on people identifying as LGBTQ+ went unpunished by authorities which just encouraged the violent attacks and treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “Breaking the Silence on Human Rights Violations in Sierra Leone under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): A Shadow Report on Discrimination and Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. African Men for Sexual Health and Rights Network, Concerned Women’s Initiative of Sierra Leone, Dignity Association of Sierra Leone, Heartland Alliance’s Global Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights, International Human Rights Law Clinic, American University Washington College of Law, The Initiative for Equal Rights and West African Youth Network. March 2014, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/SLE/INT_CCPR_CSS_SLE_16487_E.pdf. (Direct Download Link)

  2. “Brutal Murder of Fanny Ann Eddy, Lesbian and Gay Activist from Sierra Leone”. Hans Binswanger. Kubatana, 2 October 2004, http://archive.kubatana.net/html/archive/sexual/041002hb.asp?sector=HR%22target=%22_blank%22.

  3. “FannyAnn Eddy”. Human Rights Defenders Memorial, https://hrdmemorial.org/hrdrecord/fannyann-eddy/.

  4. “Fannyann Eddy”. Joan Nestle, https://www.joannestle.com/dedication/index.html.

  5. “FannyAnn Eddy - Nominee”. Victor Salvo. The Legacy Project, https://legacyprojectchicago.org/person/fannyann-eddy.

  6. “Fannyann Eddy (1974-2004)”. The Hirschfeld-Eddy-Foundation, http://www.hirschfeld-eddy-stiftung.de/en/foundation/about-us/names/fannyann-eddy/.

  7. “FannyAnn Viola Eddy: Speaking Against Silence”. Laura Darling. Making Queer History, https://www.makingqueerhistory.com/articles/2016/12/20/fannyann-viola-eddy-speaking-against-silence.

  8. “SIERRA LEONE: CLARIFICATION ON THE MURDER OF FANNYANN EDDY”. OutRight Action International, 12 January 2005, https://outrightinternational.org/content/sierra-leone-clarification-murder-fannyann-eddy.

  9. “Sierra Leone gay activist killed”. BBC News, 5 October 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3716768.stm.

  10. “Sierra Leone Gay Activist Killed”. The Associated Press. CBS News, 5 October 2004, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sierra-leone-gay-activist-killed/.

  11. “SIERRA LEONE: IGLHRC MOURNS THE MURDER OF FANNYANN EDDY; CALLS ON ACTIVISTS EVERYWHERE TO RESPOND”. Susana Fried. OutRight Action International, 4 October 2004, https://outrightinternational.org/content/sierra-leone-iglhrc-mourns-murder-fannyann-eddy-calls-activists-everywhere-respond.

  12. “Sierra Leone killing proves human rights defenders are at risk”. Human Rights House Foundation, 24 November 2004, https://humanrightshouse.org/articles/sierra-leone-killing-proves-human-rights-defenders-are-at-risk/.

  13. “Sierra Leone: Lesbian Rights Activist Brutally Murdered”. Human Rights Watch, 5 October 2004, https://www.hrw.org/news/2004/10/05/sierra-leone-lesbian-rights-activist-brutally-murdered.

  14. “SIERRA LEONE: UPDATE - ALLEGED FANNYANN EDDY MURDERER REPORTEDLY ESCAPES POLICE DETENTION IN SIERRA LEONE”. OutRight Action International, 15 July 2005, https://outrightinternational.org/content/sierra-leone-update-alleged-fannyann-eddy-murderer-reportedly-escapes-police-detention.

Image

  1. Fannyann Viola Eddy. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19893169/fannyann-viola-eddy/photo.

Day 22: David Kato

Photo from Stringer/AP, source: The Guardian

*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, beating, brutality, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


There is a decent amount of information on this case but nothing is clear about the motive of the murder.

It was a peaceful day in Uganda. It was Monday morning on the 24th of January, 2011 and a man was on his way to work. Since it was such a nice day and that not too far from his house he decided to walk to the office. Once he got there he went to greet all of his friends and co-workers. After a long time of working together, they all felt more like family than co-workers and were all working towards the same goal.

He greeted everyone with a small smile and tried his best to seem happy but his friends could tell that something was off about him on that particular day. At first, no one wanted to bring it up because they figured that if the man wanted them to know then he would tell them. They didn’t want to pry or make him feel like he had to talk to them.

They let him be until one coworker finally decided to say something. They were worried about their friend and wanted to know why he seemed so sad on that particular day. The friend went up to the man who was sitting at his desk and casually sat down in front of him. The coworker and friend struck up a conversation and when the time was right, asked the man what was on his mind. They pointed out how he hadn’t been acting himself and expressed their concern. They told him that they were a friend and that he could tell them anything.

He paused and thought about it for a moment before nodding in agreement. He inhaled and let the breath out slowly before beginning his explanation. He told his friend that he had received an increase in harassment from multiple people. It began around the 3rd of January and was only getting worse. The man was worried. He didn’t know how far his harassers would take it and feared that one of more of them might escalate from threats to actual violence.

That wasn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility but his friend didn’t want to tell him that. They wanted to cheer him up and help calm him down. They tried to reassure him that things would get better. They said that it probably wouldn’t escalate and to not be too worried about it. No one would have the courage to actually hurt him however deep down, neither of them fully believed it but it did calm the man at least a little bit. Enough for him to continue the rest of the day at work.

~ 🏳️‍🌈 ~

Two days later on the 26th of January, the man was relaxing in his home in Kampala. It was his day off so he decided to stay inside and take some time to rest and relax. The threats he had received continued and were now starting to get to him. He needed something to do to distract him from it. He couldn’t let it affect his work. The day off was one that he really needed. He used it to clear his mind from all negative thoughts and focused on what he would do when he returned to work.

He paced around his house as he pondered. He had many things that he wanted to do at work. There were so many ways of how he could help people. He thought about the different ways that he could stand up to the government to try and improve the lives of people like him. The minorities needed the country to change in order for them to live their authentic lives without the fear of arrest or worse, death.

It was just after lunch he had received a call from a friend and colleague and they spoke for a while. After saying their goodbyes, the man walked around his house and thought about the possibilities of what he could do in order to help the people of Uganda. As he did, he heard a knock on the front door. He stopped in his tracks and looked in the direction of the door. He wasn’t expecting anyone but it wasn’t uncommon for people to stop at his house announced during the day. Thinking it was just one of his friends, the man went over to the door and opened it up.

When he did, he saw that it was a man who he recognized. He wouldn’t say he would have considered the man a friend but he was someone he had helped in the past and was willing to help again if he needed it. He invited the man in his house and led him to the living room where he invited him to sit.

The two men sat on the couch and talked with each other for a while. At first, everything seemed to be going smoothly but at some point things took a drastic turn. The change happened almost instantly. The homeowner didn’t notice it at first. He got up from the couch and was about to make his way to the kitchen but the man he had invited in his home wasn’t about to let him leave.

He reached into his backpack that he brought with him and pulled out a hammer. He hadn’t brought it with the intention of using it but as the way things worked out, it would seem as if he had to, at least in his mind. He pulled it out of his bag and quickly approached the man.

When he got behind him, he brought the hammer down on his head. The man screamed out in pain and fell to the ground. He held his head in pain and when he pulled his hand away he saw that there was blood dripping from a wound. He looked up at the man who had attacked him with terror in his eyes. He saw the hammer in his hand and went into fight or flight mode. Since he had been caught off guard, he was now in no shape to fight. His vision was blurred and his world was spinning. Pain was pulsing through his head and he could feel his blood leak from the wound down his face and soaking his clothes. He had no choice. He had to run if he wanted a chance at survival.

He struggled to get to his feet but managed to make it. He was wobbly as he tried to focus his vision but he didn’t let that stop him. He stumbled to the side as he avoided another swing and since his attacker had lost his balance, it allowed the man to escape. His attacker fumbled and tried to regain his balance while the man did the same as he tried to escape.

Unfortunately, the attacker wasn’t injured. He recovered fairly quickly and hurried after his victim. He swung again but because he was so eager he missed again but his third swing didn’t miss. He hit the man on his head again and he went down. He fell to the ground and landed with a thud. His attacker watched him for a few seconds and when he noticed that the man wasn’t moving, he quickly ran out of the house.

Outside he jumped into a car that had been waiting for him which drove off the moment he got in.

It wasn’t long after that the man’s house cleaner had arrived. When she entered the house she got quite the shock. There was a blood trial on the ground along with some blood splatter on certain areas of the walls. When she saw the blood, she knew what it was immediately. She wanted to scream but she was in too much shock.

She called out for the homeowner after she didn’t see him with a quick glance around the house. Carefully, she stepped further into the house and continued to call out for the man. When she was confident that no one else was in the house, she went to the man’s bedroom. There she found him on his bed and barely moving.

After the attacker had left, the man had managed to crawl all the way to his bedroom. He was in so much pain but he wanted to get to his bed. He felt the life slipping away from him so he wanted a comfortable and familiar place to pace away.

When the house cleaner saw him, she rushed to his side and called out his name. She tried to get him to wake up and to respond but he wouldn’t. When nothing she did worked, she ran to the phone and called for an ambulance.

The ambulance arrived shortly after the call and rushed the injured man to Kawolo hospital but despite all of the hard work the paramedics did to keep the man alive, he died before they reached the hospital.

His name was David Kato and he was 47 years old.

AFTERMATH

The man who was responsible for David’s murder is a man named Nsubuga Enock. He has been arrested and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder.

Officially, the motivation for the murder was said to be a dispute between the two men but information as to what it was had not been released. The authorities claim that the murder had nothing to do with David’s sexuality but many people, including those who were close to him believe otherwise.

IN LIFE

David Kato was an advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda, also known as SMUG. He was also a prominent voice during the fight against the “Anti-Homosexual” Bill. It proposed a law that would criminalize homosexuality and would make it punishable with a fine and imprisonment. If someone was a “repeat” offender or were HIV positive then they could face the death penalty. The bill also stated that if anyone knew or suspected that someone was a homosexual then they should report them to the authorities within 24 hours.

Prior to his death, David along with many other people had their pictures and personal information like names and addresses published in a local newspaper called the Rolling Stone. The paper claimed that all of these people were LGBTQ+ and said that they should be killed. Since their personal information was released, they were victims of harassment and even violence.

Photo from Stringer/AP, source: The Guardian

In order to get back at the paper and get them to stop the publications, David took the Rolling Stone paper to court and won the case which was a big victory in the country.

Photo by Marc Hofer, source: The Guardian

On the 3rd of January, a High Court judge named Vincent Musoke-Kibuuke had ruled in favour of David. He ordered the newspaper to stop printing the private information of people. It was said that “the exposure of the identities of the persons and homes of the applicants for the purposes of fighting gayism and the activities of gays...threaten the rights of the applicants to privacy of the person and their homes”.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “David Kato Kisule - Inductee”. Victor Salvo. The Legacy Project, https://legacyprojectchicago.org/person/david-kato-kisule.

  2. “David Kato Laid to Rest”. LGBT+ Rights, News, Press Releases & Statements. Defend Defenders, 28 January 2011, https://defenddefenders.org/david-kato-laid-to-rest/.

  3. “David Kato, Uganda Gay Activist, Brutally Slain”. Max Delany and Godfrey Olukya. Huffington Post, 27 January 2011, updated 6 December 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/david-kato-uganda-gay-act_n_814775?ri18n=true.

  4. “David Kato, Ugandan gay actvist murdered after photo, address published in tabloid, Rolling Stone”. Aliyah Shahid. Daily News, 27 January 2011, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/david-kato-ugandan-gay-actvist-murdered-photo-address-published-tabloid-rolling-stone-article-1.151925

  5. “‘His death made us stronger’: Uganda's LGBT groups on David Kato’s murder”. Aaron Akinyemi. The Guardian, 26 January 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/26/uganda-lgbt-groups-david-kato-murder-5-years-on.

  6. “Joint statement between East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders-Network, Protection International and Foundation for Human Rights Initiative”. Hassan Shire Sheikh and Nerida Nthamburi. Defend Defenders, https://defenddefenders.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/publicstatementonthemurderofdavidkato.pdf. (Direct Download Link)

  7. “Man confesses to murder of Ugandan gay activist: police”. Barry Malone. The Globe and Mail, 2 February 2011, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/man-confesses-to-murder-of-ugandan-gay-activist-police/article564577/.

  8. “Prominent gay rights activist found beaten to death in Uganda”. Mail Foreign Service. Daily Mail, 28 January 2011, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351414/Prominent-gay-rights-activist-beaten-death-winning-legal-action-newspaper-wanted-gays-hanged.html.

  9. “Sidney Nsubuga ENOCH”. Murderpedia, https://murderpedia.org/male.E/e/enoch-sidney.htm.

  10. “Targeted by gay-hate paper, then murdered in his home”. Paul Peachey. Independent, 28 January 2011, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/targeted-by-gay-hate-paper-then-murdered-in-his-home-2196700.html.

  11. “What David Kato's death can teach the world”. Navi Pillay. United Nations, https://www.un.org/africarenewal/web-features/what-david-katos-death-can-teach-world.

  12. “Uganda gay rights activist David Kato killed”. BBC News, 27 January 2011, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-12295718.

  13. “UGANDA: INVESTIGATE KILLING OF LGBT RIGHTS ACTIVIST”. Amnesty International, 27 January 2011, https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2011/01/uganda-investigate-killing-lgbt-rights-activist/.

  14. “Uganda: Investigate killing of LGBT rights activist David Kato”. Beth Berton-Hunter. Amnesty International, 27 January 2011, https://www.amnesty.ca/news/news-item/uganda-investigate-killing-of-lgbt-rights-activist-david-kato.

  15. “Uganda man jailed for killing gay activist David Kato”. BBC News, 10 November 2011, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-15685648.

  16. “Uganda: Promptly Investigate Killing of Prominent LGBT Activist”. Human Rights Watch, 27 January 2011, https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/01/27/uganda-promptly-investigate-killing-prominent-lgbt-activist.

  17. “Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato killed”. Agence France-Presse. National Post, 27 January 2011, https://nationalpost.com/news/ugandan-gay-rights-activist-david-kato-killed.

  18. “Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato found murdered”. Xan Rice. The Guardian, 27 January 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/27/ugandan-gay-rights-activist-murdered.

Images

  1. A 2010 copy of Rolling Stone in which the paper reveals the identity of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato (left). Stringer/AP. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/26/uganda-lgbt-groups-david-kato-murder-5-years-on.

  2. David Kato was found with serious wounds to his head at his home in Kampala, 26 January 2011. Stringer/AP. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/26/uganda-lgbt-groups-david-kato-murder-5-years-on.

  3. David Kato was murdered weeks after winning a court case against the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone over its policy of identifying homosexuals in its pages. Marc Hofer. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/27/ugandan-gay-rights-activist-murdered.


Day 21: Walter Tróchez

Photo from SocialistWorker.org

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, kidnapping, beating, a gun, gunfire, death by gunshot, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.

There is limited information about this case published online. As far as the articles say, no arrests have been made to this day.

It was the 4th of December in Comayaguela, Honduras. People were walking along the streets going about their days. Some people were going to the shops to buy food or items while others were on their way home from work or school.

One resident of Comayaguela was a young man who was out walking along the streets. He walked past the El Obelisco park and enjoyed his stroll. He had a lot of things on his mind recently. One of the things that troubled him was the possibility of him being followed. He had the feeling that people were following him and had been for weeks. He had seen a grey pickup truck drive by his house on multiple occasions and after weeks he decided to move to another house. He tried his best to avoid being seen but not long after his move, he got the sense of being followed again. It made him paranoid. Even when he sensed a person or persons following him, he didn’t always see who it could have been. Whoever it was, they were skilled in blending in with the crowd.

Even now as he walked by El Obelisco park, the hairs on the back of his neck perked up. The feeling sent chills down his back. He tried to resist the urge to look behind him every two seconds but couldn’t help it. Every few steps he would turn his head ever so slightly to the side and scan his surroundings. He didn’t see anything out of the ordinary but his senses were telling him that something was wrong. He might not have been able to see anyone following him but his instincts told him otherwise.

He knew that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do for him to wander around town so freely but he didn’t want to give into the fear of someone following him. He had work to do. Important work. He wasn’t going to let this stop him no matter how paranoid it made him feel. His work meant everything to him. He knew the danger he was putting himself in by not backing down but it didn’t matter to him.

He tried to ignore the feeling of eyes watching him as he walked by the park. It was just another day for him. He concentrated and forced his eyes forward. He tried to think of anything other than the eyes watching him. He picked up his pace and tried to hurry. He had to get to his destination soon. The sooner he arrived, the more at ease he would feel.

However, he never made it. As he walked along the sidewalk, a familiar looking pickup drove up next to him. It screeched to a halt right beside him and two or more figures jumped out from the truck. He barely had any time to react. Two figures grabbed the young man by the arms, forced them behind his back and shoved him in the back seat of the truck. He tried to call out for help and to demand that they let him go but they didn’t listen. He was so shocked that no words came to his mouth until he was already in the vehicle and they were driving off. By then, it was too late. No one would have been able to hear him. He doubted that anyone even saw what had happened. The area surrounding the park had been very quiet. It was the perfect opportunity for his kidnappers.

Once they were in the truck and it had driven off, the kidnappers placed a hood over the young man’s head and tied his hands behind his back. When he struggled, they beat him in order to quiet him but it did little good. He was a fighter and he wasn’t about to go down without a fight. He trashed and kicked despite being beaten for each attempt to attack. He didn’t stop, not even when they reached their destination.

The kidnappers pulled the young man from the vehicle once they had stopped and threw him to the ground. They thought that perhaps that would get him to stop struggling but they were wrong. He continued to struggle against his bonds and even more when he was hauled up to his feet by his arms. He screamed at them to let him go. He couldn’t see due to the hood but he hoped that someone, anyone could hear his calls for help but where they were was too isolated from the city. No one but his kidnappers heard him. They thought his calls for help were funny and a waste of his energy. They told him to save it. To them, it would be no fun to torture him if he didn’t scream.

They dragged him into a building where he was forced on a chair and tied up once more. This time the ropes were even tighter than before but yet the young man still did not give up. He kept screaming to be let go.

Now that he couldn’t move, his kidnappers laughed at him. They laughed at how pathetic he looked. He was sitting there, wasting his energy trying to fight even though he had to have known it was pointless. He did. The young man did know that there wasn’t much he could do but that still didn’t stop him from trying. At the very least, if they killed him then he wouldn’t go down quietly. He had always been a fighter and always would be. He could hear his kidnappers laugh at his struggle. It made his blood boil. How dare they do something like this. Not only that, but how dare they kidnap him.

When they got tired of his struggling, they finally started to beat him again. They demanded information from him. Information that was quite valuable to them. Information that only he had but the young man was stronger than they gave him credit for. No matter how many times they hit or kicked him, he wouldn’t say a word. He cried out in pain with each blow but he refused to tell them what they wanted to know.

With each blow, the kidnappers grew more and more impatient with him. They continued to beat him until he was covered in bruises from head to toe but still he didn’t not speak. They were astounded by his stubbornness.

They said that if he told them what they wanted to know then they would let him go but as great as that offer sounded, he still refused. He may not have known the kidnappers personally he knew better than to trust them. They would have said anything to get him to talk and he knew it. He wasn’t going to give in because if he did then the other people he worked with would be in danger.

They would be killed.

That wasn’t something he was going to risk. He couldn’t. He would die if that meant that the others would be safe and continue the fight they believed in. The information his kidnappers wanted were details about the leaders and the resistance’s next movements. In the wrong hands, that information would be devastating. Everything he and his friends worked for would have been for nothing.

When they realized that they would get nothing out of their captive, they gave up. They were angry. The whole point for his kidnapping was to get this vital information but it seemed that he wasn’t going to give it up. That was okay. If he wouldn’t give up the information then someone else would but now they wouldn’t need him anymore.

They laughed when they told the young man that they were going to kill him. They told him the different ways they could do it. He heard the sound of a blade slide across a metal surface. He gulped. He could sense that his time was near. He thought he had prepared himself mentally. He told himself the whole way here, wherever here was, that he was prepared to die but now he wasn’t so sure. It wasn’t really the fact that he was about to die that scared him. What scared him was how he was going to die. Were his kidnappers going to make him suffer? Most likely.

He tensed up but nothing happened. In fact, the knife dropped near his feet and there was a commotion. He couldn’t understand what was going on but he heard the men say that something had happened and they needed to go. From the sounds of it, they didn’t bother to have at least one person stay. They figured that with the way that the prisoner was tied up, he wouldn’t be going anywhere.

The young man listened carefully. He waited until he could no longer hear the footsteps or voices of the men. When he no longer heard anything, he stayed still. He waited for countless minutes until he was sure that no one was remaining in the building.

After that he moved around as frantically as he could. He struggled against the ropes until his skin burned. It was painful but it would be worth it if he could escape. Eventually, after a long time, with much determination the young man finally felt the rope losen. He wiggled until his hands slipped free.

Victory.

When his hands were free he yanked the hood off his head and got to work untying his legs. However, this knot seemed a bit too difficult for him to work loose on his own. He was frustrated but soon saw the knife on the ground nearby. He picked it up and used it to cut himself free.

He stood up and when he did, he felt dizzy from the pain. He took a deep breath and shook it off. He couldn’t let that stop him. He had to leave before the men returned. He stumbled out of the room and made his way to the main entrance of the building. Surprisingly, there was no one there. The entire building was empty except for the young man. This made his escape rather easy.

Once he left the property he ran as fast as he could. He ran until his lungs burned. He ran until he reached his home where he locked all of the doors and windows. He closed all of the blinds and barricaded himself in his room for the night.

The next morning he went right to the police station. He rushed in and demanded to speak to an officer. He was in a panic. He was still afraid from what happened yesterday. Even the journey to the police station was scary. There he reported his kidnapping and that he had received death threats before. They took it down and promised him that they would get to the bottom of it.

He hoped they would but there wasn’t much to go on. He described the building the best he could from memory but he wasn’t too hopeful. He knew that the best thing he could do was try and return to his normal life which is what he did.

Days later on the 14th of December, the young man was walking along the streets in the center of Tegucigalpa. It was late at night. The hour was quickly approaching 11 P.M. The young man hadn’t planned to be out so late and he was starting to get tired. He decided that it was time to head home.

He turned a corner when all of a sudden there was a pain in his chest. It was indescribable. It felt like fire was shooting through his veins. He couldn’t breathe and couldn’t move. He collapsed on the ground and spat up blood. He choked on it. He was terrified. He knew he was about to die. He had escaped his kidnappers but it seemed as if they had tracked him down and were now going to finish the job.

He did his best and got out his cellphone from his pocket. He flipped it open and dialed the number of one of his friends. He struggled to speak as the blood poured out of his mouth but managed to tell them the address of where he was located. Just as he told them, he dropped his phone and coughed out more blood. In a panic, his friend dropped their phone and rushed to the scene. They arrived just in time to see the young man being loaded into an ambulance which was called when someone walking by happened to see him lying in a pool of his own blood.

The young man was rushed to Hospital Escuela. He was pronounced dead on arrival. One shot was all it took for him to die.

His name was Walter Tróchez and he was only 27 years old.

AFTERMATH

The police didn’t bother to investigate Walter’s kidnapping. When it came to his murder, it alledgedly took them 12 hours to even go to the scene of the shooting. When they did arrive they were not careful in the least bit when it came to processing and handling the evidence.

When it came to the autopsy, even that was delayed. Even while the police were allegedly investigating the scene of the shooting, Walter’s body was lying in the morgue.

Very little was done to solve both his kidnapping and his murder. This points to the culprits being members of the police which is what Walter had stated before his death. He suspected that the police were guilty and it could be reasonable to think that they were behind his murder as well.

Despite all of the years that have passed, there has still been no mention of any arrests in the case. Supposedly, the records of his report of the kidnapping have been “lost”.

IN LIFE

Walter Tróchez was a well known LGBTQ+ activist and a member of the National Resistance Front in Honduras.

After participating in a march against le coup d'état, Walter had been arrested and even beaten for his sexual orientation.

He had done some undercover work and documented and exposed homophobic crimes and murders that had been committed by the forces who were behind the coup. He took photos and took down testimonies from all of the victims which he gathered as evidence.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “A GAY TIDE”. The Editors. The Nation, 16 December 2009, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/noted-100/.

  2. “AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2010”. Amnesty International, 2010, https://www.amnesty.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Annual_Report_20101.pdf. (Direct Download Link)

  3. “En asesinato de Walter Tróchez la policía no protegió la escena del crimen”. Dina Meza. Blogspot, 15 December 2009, http://hondurasenlucha.blogspot.com/2009/12/en-asesinato-de-walter-trochez-la.html.

  4. “Honduran LGBTT activist and coup resistor Walter Tróchez killed”. Dawn Paley. The Dominion, 16 December 2009, http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/dawn/3072.

  5. “Honduras: Investigate Murders of LGBT People”. Human Rights Watch, 16 December 2009, https://www.hrw.org/news/2009/12/16/honduras-investigate-murders-lgbt-people.

  6. “Honduras: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review”. Amnesty International, 19 April 2010, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/36000/amr370052010en.pdf. (Direct Download Link)

  7. “OUR COMPAÑERO IN STRUGGLE”. Center for the Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Honduras (CIPRODEH) and Los Necios, Translated by Adrienne Pine. Socialist Worker, 16 December 2009, https://socialistworker.org/2009/12/16/our-companero-in-struggle.

Image

  1. Walter Tróchez. Socialist Worker, https://socialistworker.org/2009/12/16/our-companero-in-struggle.

Day 20: Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien

Photo from NBC News

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, stabbing, knife attack, beating, hammer attack, brutality, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This story was written using articles that spoke of the husband’s point of view. This is not a reflection of how Christa actually behaved or treated others.

It was a normal day in North Adams, Massachusetts on the 5th of January, 2018. The residents went about their normal lives with going to school or going to work. Towards the evening, people made their way home and began dinner preparations. When the hour began to approach 8 P.M, many residents of Veazie Street were preparing for bed. All leftover food had been put away and all of the dishes were loaded into the dishwashers to be cleaned overnight.

One household on Veazie Street had two residents who went about their night-time routine as they prepared for bed. They had cleaned up after dinner a little over an hour and during this time they had been relaxing in the living room and watching TV. Now it was getting late in the evening so they decided to call it a day. They were tired and just wanted to go to sleep.

It was way too hot upstairs so the couple decided to blow up their air mattress and sleep downstairs for the night. They would deal with the temperature issue in the morning. It was too late for them to think of a solution. The best place they decided to set up was in the living room as it had the right amount of space for the mattress.

Once the air mattress was blown up, the couple put a fitted sheet on it, their pillows from upstairs that already had pillow cases on then lastly a thin sheet. It was still a bit warm downstairs so they didn't want to use a thick blanket. The last thing they wanted was to overheat.

The couple got changed into their pajamas, said good night to each other then laid down and tried to fall asleep. The heat made it a bit difficult but at least it wasn't unbearable like the temperature upstairs. When they were preparing for bed upstairs they could feel the heat and it was quite uncomfortable. Moving around didn't help but even when they were standing still, the two could feel the sweat forming all over their bodies. It was gross. Tomorrow they would definitely think of a way to fix the temperature because they knew they couldn't sleep on the mattress permanently.

The woman seemed fine on the mattress. She got comfortable and tried to sleep but found it difficult. It wasn't just because of the heat but also because of her husband. He kept tossing and turning which caused her to bounce around on the mattress. It didn't bother her at first as she understood how uncomfortable it was but as time went on it became an annoyance. On a regular mattress she wouldn't have bounced around as much.

Some time after she turned to face her husband and kindly asked him to stop. She explained how she couldn't sleep with him moving around so much. He apologized and promised to try and stay still. She thanked him then laid down once more and tried again to fall asleep. At first, all seemed to be fine but when her husband thought that she had fallen asleep he began to toss and turn again.

She was still awake due to the heat and sighed in annoyance when she was bounced around on the mattress. Her husband moved around too much for her liking and made it impossible for her to sleep. Once again she asked him to stop moving but this time he protested. He said that it was difficult for him to fall asleep and that he couldn't help it. His wife explained how it was hard for her too but she was being considerate and did her best to remain as still as possible. She said how she was doing it for him and that he should try considering her feelings too.

Her husband claimed that he was and that he always considered her feelings but that particular night was challenging for him. He just couldn't get comfortable no matter what he did. His wife said that if he stayed in place for more than two seconds then perhaps he would find a comfortable position. Her comment irritated him. He said that he couldn’t stay still because the temperature was just too uncomfortable and that the air mattress didn’t help.

His wife sighed and shook her head. She muttered to herself how inconsiderate her husband was then told him that if she could stay still then so could he. That comment made something shift in him. It got to him. He felt more than an annoyance but it wasn’t quite rage. He couldn’t explain it. He just knew that he really didn’t like the way she was speaking to him. She just dismissed how he felt. It wasn’t fair. To him, she had done it so many times in that past that he was just sick of it. She always did this and he wanted her to stop.

Fed up, he pushed the sheet aside and got up from the mattress. His wife looked up at him and asked him where he was going. This only fueled his anger and he grumpily told her that he was going to the bathroom, not that it was any of her business. She couldn’t believe his attitude but was too tired to deal with him. She just rolled her eyes and turned back over in bed. Now that her husband wasn’t moving around, she had an easier time drifting off. Her eyes grew heavy and she could feel sleep beginning to consume her. Hopefully she would nod off before her husband returned.

He returned a short while later and it sounded as if he had gone to the basement. That was a bit odd but the woman didn’t think much of it. She assumed that her husband had forgotten something down there or just went down to try and cool off.

When he returned to the living room, the man approached the mattress and at first, his wife thought he was about to get back into bed but she never felt a dip in the mattress. Instead, her husband’s footsteps stopped just at the edge of the mattress. She thought nothing of it. Maybe he was looking at something outside of the window or thinking about grabbing a snack. She continued to lie there with her eyes closed but she was jerked awake at a sudden and intense pain located on her head.

She screamed and sat up in bed. She looked up at her husband but due to the darkness, all she could see was his silhouette. In one hand she saw something that looked like a hammer. They had one in the basement. Her eyes widened in terror when she realized what was going on. He had gone to the basement to retrieve the hammer and the pain she felt was caused when the hammer was brought down on her.

She scrambled to get off the mattress and get away from her husband but he was quick. He brought the hammer back down on her head. Each hit caused even more pain than the last. Her head was pounding from the pain and she felt dizzy. It felt like she had the world’s worst migraine.

She pleaded with her husband to stop. She asked why he was doing this. What had she done to deserve this? What caused him to attack? He didn’t respond at first but eventually said that he had enough of her belittling him. He was sick and tired of it and wanted her to stop. He told her that he felt like he had no choice and that she had to shut up.

He continued beating her and she continued to try and escape despite the pain. Her instinct told her to run but all she could do was slowly crawl along the floor. She cried out with each blow.

Her husband tried to aim for her head to give her a quick death but some missed and hit her torso. When he saw that the hammer didn’t work in killing her, he hit her once more on the head then left the living room and went to the kitchen. He slightly stumbled in the dark but didn’t turn the light on. He wasn’t sure how much strength his wife still had so he didn’t want to make it easy for her to escape by turning on the lights.

In the kitchen, he went over to where they kept the knife and pulled out the biggest one he could find. The moonlight provided just enough light to find it and once he picked it up, he made his way back to the living room. His wife was still trying to crawl away and when he approached her, she weakly lifted her head and once again, begged him to spare her. Her husband said nothing and began to stab her.

She cried out in pain when she felt the blade of the knife pierce her back. She felt her blood gush from the wound when the blade was pulled from her. She pleaded with her husband. Begged for her life. She promised that she wouldn’t press charges on him if he spared her but nothing stopped him. He wasn’t about to stop. Not until she was dead.

He stabbed her again, this time he used so much force that the knife stuck in her back. He found it difficult to pull out so he left it. She was on the brink of death but still alive so he picked up the hammer and began hitting her head again. He continued until her body went limp. He was convinced that she was now dead. The screaming had stopped and it didn’t appear as if she was breathing anymore.

Her name was Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien and she was 42 years old.

AFTERMATH

After killing Christa, 47 year old Mark Steele-Knudslien had taken a shower and cleaned the blood off himself. Afterwards he went to a nearby liquor store and bought some alcohol. Upon returning home he attempted to clean up the crime scene.

He gathered some tarp which he wrapped around Christa and the murder weapons. He then set to work trying to clean up the blood with paper towels. He moved the tarp to the basement then left the home once more.

This time he traveled south to the Adams police station. Articles said that Mark walked into the station at around 9:09 P.M on Friday the 5th of January, 2018. He asked to speak with an officer and one went to talk to him. Mark told the officer that he had “done something bad” and that he “should be put in handcuffs”. He explained how he killed his wife.

At 9:02 P.M the Adams police contacted the North Adams Police and informed them of the homicide that occurred at 107 Veazie Street. 25 minutes later at 9:27, police arrived on scene and stayed there for the rest of the night.

The Adams Police Department held Mark Steele-Knudslien overnight and the next morning on Saturday the 6th of January, he was taken to Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction where he was held without bail.

On Monday the 7th of January, Mark was arraigned on one count of first-degree murder where he pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday the 16th of January, 2020 Mark Steele-Knudslien pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien.He was sentenced by Judge John Agostini to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

IN LIFE

Christa was the founder of the Miss Trans America Pageant, the founder and CEO of the Miss Trans New England Pageant and helped to organize New England’s first Trans Pride march in 2008. She was very active in the trans community when it came to activism.

One of her friends, Justin Adkins had told the Associated Press that “[Christa’s] thing was always that transgender women are beautiful and need a venue for trans women to be seen as beautiful”.

She is believed to have been the first transgender person to have been killed in the year 2018. Before she died, she posted on Facebook: “My husband and I are going to try to work things out” in 2017 which hinted at troubles in their relationship.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien is the First Known Transgender Woman Killed in 2018”. HRC staff. Human Rights Campaign, 8 January 2018, https://www.hrc.org/blog/christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-is-the-first-known-transgender-woman-killed.

  2. Founder of Miss Trans America pageant is 'stabbed and beaten to death by her husband inside her Massachusetts home after he snapped'”. The Associated Press. Daily Mail, 8 January 2018, updated 24 January 2020, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5248387/Husband-charged-killing-transgender-pageant-founder.html.

  3. HE 'SNAPPED': Miss Trans America Pageant founder allegedly murdered by husband”. Radar Online. Calgary Herald, 10 January 2018, https://calgaryherald.com/news/crime/he-snapped-miss-trans-america-pageant-founder-allegedly-murdered-by-husband.

  4. Husband charged with grisly killing of transgender pageant founder”. John Paul Brammer. NBC News, 12 January 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/husband-charged-grisly-killing-transgender-pageant-founder-n836066.

  5. Husband of transgender activist Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien admits to her murder; sentenced to life in prison”. Patrick Johnson. MassLive, 23 January 2020, https://www.masslive.com/police-fire/2020/01/husband-of-transgender-activist-christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-admits-to-her-murder-sentenced-to-life-in-prison.html.

  6. Husband sentenced to life in prison for killing transgender wife in North Adams”. Nancy Asiamah. WWLP-22News, 23 January 2020, updated 24 January 2020, https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/berkshire-county/husband-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-killing-transgender-wife-in-north-adams/.

  7. Husband told police he 'snapped' before killing Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, founder of Miss Trans America”. Dan Glaun. MassLive, 8 January 2018, updated 30 January 2019, https://www.masslive.com/news/2018/01/husband_told_police_he_snapped.html.

  8. Massachusetts man admits to killing wife, a prominent transgender activist, by stabbing, hitting her with hammer”. Muri Assunção. New York Daily News, 24 January 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-husband-trans-activist-christa-steele-knudslien-admits-killing-jail-20200124-dav72nqznnezrd5urxn3aot2j4-story.html.

  9. Miss Trans America founder beaten, stabbed to death in her home”. The Associated Press. CBS News, 10 January 2018, updated 11 January 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/miss-trans-america-founder-beaten-stabbed-to-death-in-her-home/.

  10. Miss Trans America Founder Is The First Known Transgender Person Killed This Year”. Curtis M. Wong. Huffington Post, 9 January 2018, updated 12 January 2018, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-transgender-murder_n_5a5543a0e4b0d614e48a9f39?ri18n=true.

  11. Miss Trans America founder murdered at home – husband arrested”. David Hudson. Gay Star News, 8 January 2018, https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/steele-knudslien-trans-murder/.

  12. Miss Trans America founder’s husband charged with her murder”. Mariah Cooper. Los Angeles Blade, 9 January 2018, https://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/01/09/miss-trans-america-founders-husband-charged-murder/.

  13. North Adams man admits killing wife, gets life sentence”. Bob Dunn. Daily Hampshire Gazette, 23 January 2020, https://www.gazettenet.com/Mark-Knudslien-sentenced-32202116.

  14. North Adams man held after allegedly killing his wife”. Haven Orecchio-Egresitz. The Berkshire Eagle, 6 January 2018, https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/north-adams-man-held-after-allegedly-killing-his-wife,528865.

  15. Number 1- Rest In Power, Christa”. Monica Roberts. Blogspot, 6 January 2018, https://transgriot.blogspot.com/2018/01/number-1-rest-in-power-christa.html.

  16. The death of a North Adams woman has been ruled a homicide”. Frederick A. Lantz. Mass.gov, 7 January 2018, https://www.mass.gov/news/the-death-of-a-north-adams-woman-has-been-ruled-a-homicide.

  17. Woman who founded trans beauty pageants becomes first known trans person killed in America this year”. Emily Shugerman. Independent, 10 January 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/transgender-woman-killed-first-2018-christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-beauty-pageants-a8152226.html.

Images

  1. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien. NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/husband-charged-grisly-killing-transgender-pageant-founder-n836066.

Day 19: Maurice Mjomba

Photo from Maurice’s Facebook

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, brutality, a beating, rape, forcable sodomy, strangling, alleged homophobic hate crime, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This incident happened back in 2012 but information is limited. There have been no reports of any arrests and the case appears to remain unsolved.

It was getting late in the day on the 27th of July, 2012 in the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A young man had just finished his work for the day. He said goodbye to his friends and colleagues before packing up his things and headed home. He didn’t live too far away from where he worked so the trip home wasn’t very long.

When the man arrived home he went straight for the kitchen and grabbed himself a drink. As he took some sips of his drink, he browsed through his fridge to see what he would have for dinner. He had quite a few ingredients so there were a variety of meals he could make. He debated on what he could make. He wasn’t too sure what he was in the mood for that evening. One potential meal he was thinking about was one he had recently so he decided to cook something else. It was always nice to change it up.

He looked at the time and saw that it was still a little early to start dinner and he wasn’t particularly hungry at the time. He thought about it and decided to wait for an hour or two before he started to cook. It would be a bit later than most people would begin dinner but he lived alone so he was able to eat whenever he wanted.

He closed his fridge and left the kitchen with his drink in hand. He went over to the living room and sat down on the couch. He set his drink down on the coffee table then picked up a book that was on a side table. It had taken him a lot longer to finish it than he would have liked but his work was more important than finishing a book. He loved his work. He loved being able to help others although he was more of a quiet person. While other people were out in the frontlines and really fighting for a change he was happy to help quietly in the background. His work was just as important as people who protested out on the streets.

As he flipped through the book, a group of men approached his house. They were dressed in dark clothes and wore masks which covered their faces. They looked around the area and when they were sure that no one had seen them, they kicked in the door and stormed in the house. The young man was startled when he heard his front door bang against a wall and jumped from his seat. His book fell to the ground and his drink tipped over when his knee hit the coffee table. The cup fell to the ground and the liquid spilled on the surface of the table and dripped to the floor.

The men heard the drink fall and located the room where the sound had come from. They rushed in and surrounded the man who was so shocked that he wasn’t sure what to do. He was going to defend himself but there was nothing in his reach that could have been used as a weapon and there was no place for him to run or hide.

He was trapped in his living room surrounded by a group of masked strangers.

He asked what they wanted but no one responded to his question. He was frightened and held his hands up to show that he meant no harm. He pleaded for them to spare his life and told them they could take whatever they wanted. He even pointed out where his more expensive items were in the house in hopes that the group would take them and spare his life. He even said that he wouldn’t call the police and report them. He would do anything if they just spared him.

However, that wasn’t what the men had in mind. They told the young man that they hadn’t come there to rob him. He gulped nervously and looked at the one who seemed to be in charge. He asked them why they were in his house if they weren’t there to rob him.

One of the men smirked under his mask and pulled out some rope from the bag he had slung around his shoulder. Nothing was said on their end as the man approached the frightened young man with the rope in hand. The young man backed away as far as he could before the back of his legs hit the couch and he fell down on it. He looked up at the man with the rope and pleaded for him to spare him. He wouldn’t do anything. He wouldn’t call the cops. He’d do anything they wanted.

The man said nothing and grabbed one of his arms in a tight grasp. It hurt the young man but he didn’t dare say anything. He was too scared to say anything. He didn’t know why these men had broken into his home and he was afraid to find out. He sat back without a fuss as the man tied up both of his hands. After the knots were secure, another man walked over and slapped a strip of tape over his mouth then another over his nose.

Now the young man started to panic. It was difficult to breathe with the tape over his nose and he struggled to free himself but the men didn’t like that. They demanded that he stop struggling. One of the men had no tolerance for the struggling and began hitting the young man but that wasn’t enough to make him stop. He continued to free his hands but the knots were secure. He then tried to lift his hands to his face to see if he could take the tape off himself but the men didn’t let him. They grabbed his arms and forced them back down. The more he struggled, the more beatings he had received but still he fought back.

One of the men demanded that he stop but that made him fight back even more. He wanted to scream out no and for the men to let him go but the tape muffled his voice.

By this point the group of men were fed up with their victim. They didn’t expect this much resistance from him and it was annoying. They all turned to each other and nodded in silent agreement. They would move on with the next part of the plan they had agreed to before they arrived.

Two of the men grabbed the young man by his upper arms and slightly lifted him from the couch while another ripped off his pants. He screamed under the tape and tried to kick the person but it didn’t work. They scrunched his pants around his ankles which acted like a makeshift rope. It prevented him from kicking his attackers which was his only method of defense.

Panic filled him when he realized that there was no hope of fighting back. He feared what was to come. He didn’t know what their motive for the attack was but he did know what was going to happen to him. All he could do was sit and let it happen. There was nothing he could do. The men had surprised him and overpowered him. They had the upper hand.

Tears streamed down his face as the men attacked him. He was beaten repeatedly with tools the men had brought with them. They had come prepared. It was terrifying.

With each blow he sustained, pain pulsed through his head and chest. Pain shot through his entire body when the men forcibly sodomized him. It was unimaginable. He screamed but the tape over his nose and mouth muted the sounds. No one would have been able to hear him. His neighbours were unaware of what was happening. He knew that he was most likely going to die there.

As the attack continued, he accepted his fate. He stopped struggling. No matter what he did, nothing worked. He wanted to live. He didn’t want to die like that but there was nothing he could do about it. As hard as it was for him, he gave in and accepted his fate. He came to terms with the fact that he was going to die when the men felt like they had done enough.

It felt like ages passed but soon the young man felt the life leaving him. He was fading in and out of consciousness. He couldn’t focus on his surroundings and he could barely hear the men as they taunted him. He was in so much pain that he barely felt it anymore. In fact, he couldn’t feel anything. Everywhere hurt.

The men then pulled out yet another rope but this one was thicker than the one used to tie the young man’s hands together. This one was wrapped around his neck and one man pulled as tightly as he could. The young man felt a burning sensation on the skin of his neck as the rough rope tightened around him.

Breathing was already difficult with the tape over his nose and mouth but now it was almost impossible. His lungs burned as they screamed for oxygen. Out of instinct he raised his hands up to his neck and did his best to claw at the rope but it did nothing. The man who was holding the rope just tightened it and held it in place until the young man stopped moving entirely. He slumped back on the couch and closed his eyes for the last time.

His name was Maurice Mjomba and he was only 29 years old.

AFTERMATH

The exact day and time that Maurice died hasn’t been determined or published online. It has been estimated that he died somewhere between the 27th and 28th of July. One source even said that he most likely died on the morning of Saturday the 28th of July.

His body was discovered on the 30th when neighbours called the police and reported a smell coming from his home. When the police entered they found his decomposing body slouched on his couch with tape covering his nose and mouth, his hands tied together and signs of strangulation. There were even reports of blood emanating from his genitals and anus.

Even after all these years, there has been little media coverage and nothing that mentions arrests of the perpetrator(s).

IN LIFE

Mjomba worked as a training coordinator at the Centre for Human Rights Promotion (CHRP), a human rights activist, a sexual health educator and was a founding member of an organization called Stay Awake Network Activities (SANA).

Stay Awake Network Activities (SANA) is an organization which deals with sexual health awareness in Tanzania for men who have sex with other men. Not only was he one of the founding members but he also worked as an assistant secretary and an executive committee member.

He wanted to fight discrimination against people who had HIV/AIDS and wanted to provide services to help intravenous drug users.

People who knew him in life said that he was hard-working, diligent and an honest person. A person who worked with him known as Pade described Maurice as “a kind, sincere and an open minded person. He was always ready to help others at all times and he would take time to see things are done accordingly and provide solutions”. Pade also said that Maurice has never wanted to be in the forefront when it came to activism. He would work in the background and “when you fall he would catch you. He was a thinker too!”

SOURCES

Articles

  1. ACTIVIST LAID TO REST AS DETAILS OF MURDER SURFACE”. Staff Writer. Mamba Online, 1 August 2012, https://www.mambaonline.com/2012/08/01/activist-laid-to-rest-as-details-of-murder-surface/.

  2. Dead Tanzania gay activist was found bound, gagged and beaten”. Tris Reid-Smith. Gay Star News, 2 August 2012, https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/dead-tanzania-gay-activist-was-found-bound-gagged-and-beaten020812/.

  3. Gay Rights Activist Murdered”. Gay Agenda, 31 July 2012, https://gayagenda.com/african-gay-rights-activist-found-murdered/.

  4. Maurice Mjomba”. Human Rights Defenders Memorial, https://hrdmemorial.org/hrdrecord/maurice-mjomba/.

  5. maurice mjomba”. Ubuntu Biography Project, 10 October 2017, https://ubuntubiographyproject.com/2017/10/10/maurice-mjomba/.

  6. REPORT: TANZANIAN LGBT ACTIVIST STRANGLED”. Staff Writer. Mamba Online, 30 July 2012, https://www.mambaonline.com/2012/07/30/report-tanzanian-lgbt-activist-strangled/.

  7. Tanzania gay rights activist found dead”. Heather Cassell. The Bay Area Reporter, 1 August 2012, https://www.ebar.com/news///242754.

  8. Tanzania: Gay rights activist found dead”. Stephen Gray. Pink News, 30 July 2012, https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/07/30/tanzania-gay-rights-activist-found-dead/.

  9. Tanzania LGBT rights activist found dead”. Dan Littauer. Gay Star News, 30 July 2012, https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/tanzania-lgbt-rights-activist-found-dead300712/.

  10. TANZANIA: LGBT Rights Activist Killed, Hate Crime Suspected”. Rod. ROD Online, 30 July 2012, https://rodonline.typepad.com/rodonline/2012/07/tanzania-lgbt-rights-activist-found-dead-foul-play-suspected.html.

  11. Tanzanian AIDS Activist Brutally Murdered, Body Found In Home”. Dan Avery. Queerty, 6 August 2012, https://www.queerty.com/tanzanian-aids-activist-brutally-murdered-body-found-in-home-20120806/amp.

  12. Tanzanie: un activiste gay retrouvé mort à son domicile”. Fabien Carlat. Komitid, 31 July 2012, https://www.komitid.fr/2012/07/31/tanzanie-un-activiste-gay-retrouve-mort-a-son-domicile/.

  13. Tanzanie : Un gay retrouvé mort à son domicile”. Afriqu Infos, 31 July 2012, https://afriquinfos.com/afrique-de-lest/tanzanie/tanzanie-retrouve-mort-domicile-207453/.

  14. UPDATE: Tanzanian activist’s body was bound, gagged, beaten”. Natasha Barsotti. Daily Xtra, 2 August 2012. https://www.dailyxtra.com/update-tanzanian-activists-body-was-bound-gagged-beaten-29437.

  15. 2013 ANNUAL REPORT: Global Trends in 2012 for human rights defenders”. Front Line Defenders, 2013, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/file/1837/download?token=RQ2HdbT0. (Direct Download Link)

Image

  1. Maurice Mjomba. Facebook, 19 January 2012, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=104979169625118&set=pb.100003391060916.-2207520000..&type=3&theater.

Day 13: Joe Rose

Photo from the Montreal Gazette

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, beating, stabbing, knife attack, homophobic slurs, homophobic hate crime, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This story happened quite a while ago and all of the articles concerning it when it first came out have not been published online.

On the night of the 18th of March, 1989 a young man was getting ready to head out for the night with friends. He picked his clothes carefully so he would fit in with the nightlife at a dance club and styled his bright pink hair. He couldn’t wait to meet up with his friends and have fun. All of them had been excited ever since they planned the night out.

After he got ready, he went to see his younger brother who was in another room. He asked the 20 year old if he wanted to join him and his friends for a fun night out but his brother politely refused. He said that he would love to but he was in a band and they had a gig which he had to attend. His brother was understanding and wished his younger brother luck. His brother also wished him luck and hoped that he and his friends would have a good time. He said that next time he would join them. The two waved before the older brother left the house and walked to the nearest bus station.

He waited for a few minutes before the next bus arrived and hopped on. When the bus grew closer to his stop he pressed the button to signal for the driver to pull over which he did and let the young man off at his desired stop. From there it was a short walk to the nightclub where his friends were already outside and waiting for him. They all greeted each other with smiles and hugs then proceeded to enter the building.

Inside loud music was blasting that felt like it shook the walls. All around bright lights filled the room and moved in time with the music. The group of friends quickly made their way to an empty spot where they began to dance together. At one point, one went over to the bar and ordered some drinks which they brought back to their friends. This continued well into the night.

When the night began to turn into day, many of the partygoers began to leave the club. Many of them had been there for countless hours. It was time they went home and slept off the alcohol. The group of friends went their separate ways after leaving the club except for two. The young man with the bright pink hair had invited one of his friends to stay the night at his place since it was closer. He didn’t want his friend to make his way home by himself at such a late hour.

The young man and his friend made their way to the Atwater metro station and went to a bus stop where they could get on the 358 bus. They didn’t have to wait long and soon a bus heading east arrived. The bus driver stopped to let them on and when they paid they went to sit down. Due to the late hour they had their pick on where they wanted to sit. They had been the only ones on the bus at the time but about halfway through their journey the bus stopped again and this time let on a group of four teenagers.

The two friends didn’t even bother to look up at the group of teenagers as they entered the bus. They just talked amongst each other and just as the bus began to drive away, the teenagers decided to cause some trouble. Together, all four of them made their way over to the two friends and targeted the one with the bright pink hair. They began taunting him and called him a faggot.

At first, the two friends tried to ignore the teens. They didn’t want to engage and encourage them but their silence did the exact opposite. The teens continued to taunt and harass him and when they didn’t get the reaction they wanted, they took it a step further. One of the teenagers tried to get the attention of the young man by calling him a faggot once more and when he finally looked up, the teenager brought his fist down on his face.

The young man was so shocked and the punch was so unexpected that he didn’t have any time to defend himself. The force of the punch sent him to the floor of the bus and the teenager’s three friends quickly circled him. The man’s friend tried to intervene but the group shoved him aside so they could focus their attack on the pink haired man.

They had him completely surrounded and began kicking him. All of them began screaming at the young man who curled up in a ball in an attempt to protect himself from the blows. His friend sat on the ground shocked as he watched the attack. He wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t know how he could have helped. There were four attackers against his friend and they were getting more and more violent as the minutes progressed.

He turned to the bus driver for help but he didn’t even glance in their direction. He just continued to drive the bus as if nothing was happening. The young man thought that either the bus driver was completely deaf or just a heartless individual who didn’t seem to care that one of his passengers was being attacked.

He got up from the ground and tried to call out to the bus driver for help but he didn’t even bat an eye. This angered one of the teens who then turned his attention on the young man. The last thing any of the teens wanted was for the bus to pull over and the cops to be involved.

The teen grabbed the young man and threw him against the seats. He felt pain in his back from the impact but it wasn’t a serious injury. He looked up at the teen who began to kick him repeatedly. When the teen noticed how he wasn’t fighting back and how he stopped saying anything he left him and went to join his group to continue the assault on the pink haired young man.

The young man was yelling at them, begging them to stop. He wanted to know why they were attacking him. One of the teens answered him and said that they were attacking him because he was a disguting faggot who didn’t deserve to live. He and people like him had no place in their society and therefore, deserved to be attacked. Anyone who looked as gay as he did deserved what was coming to them.

The words stung worse than any of the blows. The young man couldn’t understand how anyone could be so cruel to something who they didn’t even know. How could one person, let alone four hold so much hate to a single person? A person who was just on his way home and minding his own business. The two young men didn’t even look at the teens as they boarded the bus. What caused them to look at the two and think that they should attack them?

The young man attempted to stop them again but failed. They just found a new place to kick on his body. During the attack, one of them pulled out a pocket knife and flicked it open. Both friends froze. Their hearts stopped the moment they heard the flick as the blade was released.

The young man with the pink hair looked up at the attackers and all he could do was watch as the one wielding the knife plunged it into his flesh. He cried out as the pain rippled through the immediate area of the stab wound. The sharp blade separated his flesh and blood gushed from the wound. Tears streamed down his face and the teenagers continued to stab and kick him. No matter what they wouldn’t stop.

The young man’s friend watched in horror as the group attacked. He was so close that every time the knife was pulled from his friend, his blood, his friend’s blood, landed on him. It made him feel sick. He wanted to try and stop them but he was too scared. He was paralyized in fear. No matter how much he wished he could do something his body refused to move. It was as if he had turned to stone.

The bus continued to drive its route and just as they approached Frontenac, the young man could feel the life leave his body. With each blow and stab he grew weaker and weaker. He was no longer able to defend himself. He didn’t have the energy. The pain he felt was unbearable. He was bruised and cut all over. There was nothing he could do. His friend also had some injuries but they were nowhere near as serious as the pink haired man.

With the station in sight, the teenagers told each other that they had to hurry up and get ready to run once the bus doors opened up. They all nodded in agreement and dealt the final blows to the young man on the floor, covered in blood. His body was limp and nearly lifeless. His breathing was strained. He felt like he was suffocating.

When the bus came to a stop, the group of teens bolted from the doors the moment they opened. The bus driver watched them go without trying to stop them. He looked back at the two young men who remained onboard. The one who had minor injuries crawled over to his friend and checked to see how he was doing. When he tried getting his friend to respond, he panicked when he remained lifeless. In desperation, he got on his knees and began to attempt to resuscitate him. He kept this up until the police arrived. When they did, they went over to the two and checked the lifeless body. With a heavy heart, one officer put a hand on the young man’s shoulder who was trying to save his friend and had to tell him to stop. There was nothing more he could do. His friend had died.

His name was Joe Rose and he was only 23 years old.

AFTERMATH

After Joe Rose’s tragic death, his parents had claimed that the bus driver didn’t activate the emergency signal that was on the bus. This led the transit commission to order the bus driver to pay the parents 25,000 dollars in damages.

The four teenagers who committed the murder were eventually convincted for the crime.

The youngest was 14 years old and he was sentenced to 6 months in a youth home.

There were two who were 15 years old and one was sentenced to 11 months and the other 3 years in a youth home.

The oldest was 19 years old so was convicted in an adult court. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

(*Note*: I used male pronouns but in the articles I found there were no personal pronouns for any of the attackers.)

IN LIFE

Joe Rose was a nursing student who attended Dawson College. He was the founder of the LGBTQ+ club at the college which is known as the Etcetera Club in the year 1985. It was a safe place for LGBTQ+ students to meet up and get to know each other. In honour of him, the college erected a plaque in the Conrod´s café.

He lived openly as a gay man and was known for his bright pink hair. He was active in the LGBTQ+ community and vocal about the struggle for gay rights.

He also campaigned for HIV/AIDS awareness and wanted to start a branch of ACT UP in Montreal. Living with AIDS, he struggled with recurring pneumonia and severe weight loss at the time of his death.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Activist seeks public honour for Joe Rose, whose murder galvanized Montreal's gay community”. John MacFarlane. CBC News, 30 October 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/joe-rose-frontenac-metro-1.5340281.

  2. City to consider naming public square after slain LGBTQ activist”. Adam Kovac. CTV News, 3 November 2019, updated 4 November 2019, https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/city-to-consider-naming-public-square-after-slain-lgbtq-activist-1.4668620.

  3. Prejudice to pride: The forgotten murder of Joe Rose”. Richard Burnett. The Montreal Gazette, 20 March 2015, http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Prejudice+pride+forgotten+murder+Rose/9619291/story.html.

  4. 30 years later, Montreal's gay community reflects on the murder of Joe Rose”. John MacFarlane. CBC News, 19 March 2019, updated 20 March 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/joe-rose-murder-30-years-1.5062744.

Images

  1. “Joe Rose remembered”. Allen McInnis. The Gazette 14 March 2014, http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Rose+remembered/9619465/story.html.

  2. Prejudice to pride: The forgotten murder of Joe Rose”. Richard Burnett. The Montreal Gazette, 20 March 2015, http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Prejudice+pride+forgotten+murder+Rose/9619291/story.html.


Day 11: Noxolo Nogwaza

« No to lesbophobia! No to impunity! » (Translation by me.)

Photo from Amnesty Paris

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, extreme violence, sexual assault, beating, torture, and a homophobic hate crime.

Please continue with caution.


This story occurred back in 2011 and so far no arrests have been made in the case.

It was late at night in South Africa on the 23rd of April, 2011. The bars were packed with young people who were out with friends and wanting to enjoy the night. Inside of the bars, music was blasting so loud that it was almost deafening and lights were flashing in a rainbow of colours over the crowd. One bar in particular was quite busy. It was located in the township of Tsakane.

Two young women had gone out to the bar from their homes in the neighbouring township of Kwa-Thema and were enjoying the night together. Their lives had been so busy with their families and jobs that they just wanted to take the night off to get together and have fun. They decided to go to the next township as a sort of adventure and to go to a new place. It was fun and they enjoyed themselves.

When the two young women arrived at the bar they went inside and grew excited when they heard the music blasting throughout the room. They all grinned to each other in excitement then navigated their way through until they found an empty table. They sat down and ordered some drinks and enjoyed the evening. At first, all seemed to be going well for them. They were happy and enjoying each other’s company but at some point during the night a group of men approached their table.

The young women were polite and welcomed the company. One of them asked if the men would like to join them but they declined and went straight to the point. Her friend had caught their attention and they wanted to take her elsewhere to have some fun. Their implication was clear. Both of the women knew what they meant by fun but the young woman’s friend wasn’t interested. They hadn’t come to the bar for that type of fun which the young woman told the men but that didn’t stop them. They were determined to take the woman somewhere else and they wouldn’t take no for an answer.

During the little spat that they were having, the young woman got up from her seat and marched up to one of the men. She looked him right in the eyes and spoke in a firm and serious tone. She told him that her friend would not be going with them and that they needed to accept that. She had the right to say no and the men had no right to continue pressuring her. They had to acknowledge that she had boundaries and made them clear. If all they were going to do was keep up the behaviour then she said that they had to leave them alone.

The men didn’t enjoy being told what to do and cussed her out. Her friend was embarrassed and just wanted to leave. She expressed this but the young woman said that it was nonsense. They shouldn’t let the men ruin their fun night out but her friend was uncomfortable now and really wanted to go home. It was getting late now and they were both getting tired. It was about time they headed home but the young woman wanted to stay for a while longer.

Once the men had left, finally getting the message she turned to her friend and told her that she was more than welcome to go but she was going to stay. At first her friend didn’t seem too sure. She didn’t want anything to happen to her but the young woman assured her that she would be fine. She promised that she wouldn’t be much longer and would be home soon. Her friend gave it some thought then nodded. They said their goodbyes and the young woman watched as her friend left the bar.

Shortly after her friend left, she decided that she should go too. She paid for her drinks then left and began to walk home. On her way home, not too far from the bar the young woman actually ran into an acquaintance of hers. Although she was tired, she did stop to speak to them as it was only polite since they had called out to her. She tried keeping the conversation short but the acquaintance had a lot to say. They were in quite the mood to chat despite the later hour.

Finally, after a while of chatting the young woman was able to say goodbye and continued to go on her way. It was a pleasant chat and she was the type of person who always enjoyed a nice conversation but she was tired and a bit buzzed from the drinks she had earlier. She couldn’t wait to go back home and get into her nice warm bed. The next morning she suspected she would have a little bit of a headache but it wouldn’t be too bad. She hadn’t drank that much.

A little ways from the bar, the young woman had gotten a strange feeling and it wasn’t because of the alcohol. She had this strange sensation that she was being watched. She stopped in her tracks and looked around but didn’t see anyone. It was dark out so perhaps they could have been hiding in the shadows which would have been easy but it appeared to her as if she was all alone. It sent chills down her spine. She didn’t like this feeling. She turned and resumed walking, this time picking up her pace a little. The sooner she got home, the better.

As she walked, she heard the crunch of someone walking only a short distance behind her but she didn’t stop. She figured that it was perhaps someone walking home from the bar like herself. She didn’t see the need to look behind her at every strange sound even though the feeling of being watched never went away. She wished it would go away. Perhaps it was just her mind playing tricks on her. That had to be it. She was just tired. All she needed was some sleep and then she would be back to normal and those thoughts would go away.

She turned the corner of a street when suddenly, a hand reached out of the darkness and grabbed her arm in a firm grasp. She let out a scream and tried to shake the hand loose but the more she struggled, the tighter the grip became. Soon she felt like if the person didn’t let her go then her arm would break in two. The fingernails dug into the flesh of her arm and underneath she could already feel her arm begin to bruise.

She called out to whoever was holding her to let her go. She asked why they had grabbed her. What was the meaning of this? Why had she been targeted? Did they mistake her for someone else? She tried telling the person that they must have been mistaken and that she wasn’t the person they were looking for.

She jerked her arm away but the person still held on and now they stepped closer to her. Now, the young woman could see their face. She didn’t recognize them but now she could see that the person who had grabbed her was a man. He looked serious and had a dangerous look to him. She couldn’t tell what exactly the expression on his face was due to how dark it was but she knew that whatever he intended to do to her was sinister in nature. It didn’t take sight to sense such a thing.

She continued to demand that he let her go but he refused. Suddenly she was pushed to the ground and she could hear more footsteps approaching. She tensed up and looked around to see what was going on but it was difficult due to the low light. From where they were in the township, there was hardly any light. The only thing that illuminated them was the moon and stars but that didn’t do much good.

She looked around as the group of men surrounded her. She felt vulnerable being on the ground but when she tried getting up she was shoved back down. When she felt their hands on her she began to scream. She twisted and trashed but they didn’t stop. She knew what they were about to do to her. It was common for people like her to experience this but she never would have imagined it would happen to her. She knew that the risk was high but this all happened so suddenly. It was almost hard to believe that this was real.

She cried and fought the best she could but the men had the upper hand. She screamed at the top of her lungs and begged them to let her go. Not once did she stop fighting them. She refused to give in. That would only be giving them a victory and she refused to do that. She was going to fight to the very end. She was determined to. She wanted to fight and get away from them. She wanted to be able to put these disgusting men behind bars for the rest of their lives where they belonged. They had no place in society.

Even though she put up a good fight, in the end the men had their way with her and finished her off. They picked up stones that were nearby and threw them at her. Another man found a beer bottle that had been dropped closeby and picked it up. While holding the neck, he smashed the bottom on a pavement brick then stabbed the young woman with the shards. She screamed in pain as the glass was embedded in her flesh.

Tears streamed down her face and she continued to plead for the men to stop. They just looked at each other and laughed. Some of the men began to beat her. They were now sick of her fighting back. They were annoyed by it. They thought that she would have given up by now but she proved to be stronger than they gave her credit for. In between the beatings, more stones were thrown at her, this time harder than before. She tried to block them with her arms but it did little good.

One man had noticed the brick nearby and had an idea. While the other men beat the woman and threw stones at her, he walked over to the brick and picked it up. It was a bit on the heavy side but he managed. He brought it over to the crying and screaming woman and dropped it on her head. Unfortunately, that didn’t kill her on the first try so he repeated the action. A few more attempts and she had finally stopped screaming.

The group of men then rolled her over and her now lifeless body fell into a drainage ditch. They left the area quickly after that in fear that someone would catch them. The next morning on the 24th of April at around 9 o’clock in the morning, people nearby had discovered the body of the young woman.

Her name was Noxolo Nogwaza and she was only 24 years old.

AFTERMATH

After her murder, the police didn’t take the case as seriously as they should have. They failed to take critical steps that would have been vital for collecting evidence which would have aided the investigation.

Months later on August 19th, many people were frustrated with the police. They wanted to know why nothing was being done and why the case didn’t progress. Out of frustration, a large group that consisted of hundreds of LGBTQ+ activists and supporters got together and marched up to the police station. They complained about how the police failed to take action about the “corrective rapes” that plagued Johannesburg’s East Rand townships. During the protest, they sang “Noxolo is not sleeping” in reference to Noxolo Nogwaza’s violent sexual assault and murder.

Lindi Masindwa, the deputy chairwoman of the ANC Women’s League in Ekurhuleni said that they wanted the police to speed up the investigations and for actual progress to be made. The people had presented a memorandum to Hlula Msimang, the chief of the Ekurhuleni metro police department. In it they wanted to bring an end to homophobia in the police department and for the police to have a greater commitment when it came to investigating hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. They had given the police and General Mzwandile the provincial commissioner of the SAPS 30 days to respond to the memorandum. If they failed to respond then the group had said that they would march to Petros’s Johannesburg office instead.

Nonyaniso Nogwaza who is Noxolo’ cousin had said in an interview how the family had gone to the police several times inquiring on how the investigation of her murder was going. Each time the police had told them that “the case is still under investigation” and nothing else. Nonyaniso has said that “the only way to bring peace to our hearts is if the police find the ­people who killed Noxolo and bring them to justice”.

A protester named Leonard Nkosi had said “we will continue living in fear unless the criminals are brought to justice”.

In the year 2012 the family of Noxolo were informed by the police that the case had been referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions where a decision would be made regarding the case.

In March of 2013 the family were then informed that an “informal” inquest would take place the following month in April in the local magistrate’s court. This inquiry would be a limited procedure and as a result had left the family of Noxolo and their supporters with many unanswered questions and very little justice.

In May of 2011, the Parliament had formed a national task team which would deal with hate crimes that resulted in murders and the “corrective rape” crimes. This team had been formed as a result in the response to a petition on change.org about the targeted rape of lesbian women.

However, many activists have questioned how effective this new team would be. Funeka Soldaa, the Free Gender director and member of the task team had even said that she was frustrated with the lack of progress they were making. She had doubted that the government even had the appropriate funds to support the initiative. She said “I’m not sure if the government was ready to establish such a team. I think they were just responding to national and international pressure”.

Two years later in 2013, a subgroup of the task team had been created and it was called the rapid response team. One of the jobs assigned to this group was to look into and help bring a close to the 43 unsolved cases of violence that had been targeted to people in the LGBTQ+ community. Noxolo’s case was one of those that were on the list.

Around halfway through the following year of 2014, the team had finalised 19 of the 43 cases. However, Noxolo’s was not one of those 19.

To this day, there hasn’t been any progress made in Noxolo’s case. Those who are responsible for her horrible and violent death remain unpunished and free to go wherever they please. Her family has not been able to find peace knowing that the killers are still free and other people remain at risk of harassment and violence. The killers are free to attack other people so long as they remain free and those who feel the same might be motivated to do the same as the police have made no arrests in the matter.

IN LIFE

Noxolo had lived openly as a gay woman which her family supported. Her aunt had told a local newspaper that she used to buy Noxolo clothes that had been made for men.

Noxolo was also a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC) where she had campaigned for rights and equality for the LGBTQ+ community.

The organization aimed to empower the LGBTQ+ community and educate them on how to combat hate crimes, discrimination and injustice. They had also been organizing LGBTQ+ pride parades since 2009 for not only Noxolo’s home township of Kwa-Thema, but other townships that were nearby in the Ekurhuleni district.

The community knows of EPOC and how members are part of the LGBTQ+ community themselves from being gay, lesbian, transgender or other. This has resulted in the members facing harassment and even attacks because of their visibility.

Noxolo was also very passionate about soccer and she would play street soccer. In the room that she shared with her daughter, she had covered the walls with posters of a local soccer team that she liked.

While she had never finished school, her friends had said that she loved reading and how she always had a book in her hands when she wasn’t playing soccer.

She found it hard to keep a stable job with good income but she didn’t let that stop her from doing her best to support her two children.

Her friends had described her as shy and quiet but also a fighter. She had always stood up for things she believed in such as fighting for LGBTQ+ rights. Her colleagues at EPOC had said that she was a hard worker, reliable and talkative.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Brutal murder of lesbian activist condemned”. Staff Reporter. Mail & Guardian, 3 May 2011, https://mg.co.za/article/2011-05-03-brutal-murder-of-lesbian-activist-condemned/.

  2. Noxolo Nogwaza”. HRD Memorial, https://hrdmemorial.org/hrdrecord/noxolo-nogwaza/.

  3. REMEMBERING NOXOLO NOGWAZA”. Staff Writer. Mamba Online, 24 April 2013, https://www.mambaonline.com/2013/04/24/remembering-noxolo-nogwaza/.

  4. S. African lesbians targeted in rapes, slayings”. The Associated Press. CBS News, 11 May 2011, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/s-african-lesbians-targeted-in-rapes-slayings/

  5. Solve rape cases, activists demand”. Staff Reporter. Mail & Guardian, 26 August 2011, https://mg.co.za/article/2011-08-26-solve-rape-cases-activists-demand/.

  6. South Africa gay rights activists warn of homophobic attacks after murder”. David Smith. The Guardian, 3 May 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/03/south-africa-homophobic-attacks.

  7. South Africa killing of lesbian Nogwaza 'a hate crime'”. BBC, 3 May 2011, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13265300.

  8. South Africa: No Arrests in Lesbian Murder Case”. Human Rights Watch, 2 May 2011, https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/05/02/south-africa-no-arrests-lesbian-murder-case.

Image

  1. Noxolo Nogwaza. Cécile Coudriou. Amnesty Partis, https://amnestyparis13.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/pour-noxolo-contre-lhomophobie-et-limpunite/.

Further Information

  1. Meet The People Fighting Homophobia And Transphobia In Africa”. HuffPost Spain. Huff Post, 29 February 2016, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/love-is-not-a-crime-photography-exhibition-highlight-africas-lgbt-activists_n_56d0c4cbe4b03260bf76e2eb.

Day 6: Zak Kostopoulos

Photo by Natasa Pantazopoulou, from Zak’s Facebook

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, police brutality, beating, violent attack, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This story was very popular in Greece when it occurred and prompted people to protest as the police failed to act right away to investigate this case which is still on-going.

It was midday in Athens, Greece on the 21st of September, 2018. The Omonia Square was bustling with life as people walked the street going in and out of shops or who just like to glance in the windows. The restaurants were also very busy that day. Citizens and tourists came and went from the shops in search of a quick snack or drink.

A little after noon, a young man was walking along Gladstone Street and enjoying the day. He was well known in his community and was a very friendly and cheerful person. He wanted to spread positivity in the world and was very vocal about it.

He had spent his childhood in the United States until he was around eight years old. That was when his parents thought it would be best to move back to Greece so they would be closer to family and so the boy could be more connected with his roots. It was quite the shock for the boy but he soon grew accustomed to the new surroundings and found his place in the community. He made friends and found social groups who accepted him and there he could be himself. It was a good life for him and everything seemed to be going well.

Sometime in the hour of 2 P.M, the young man made his way to a café where he and his friends agreed to meet up the previous day. All of them had been busy at their jobs and wanted to get together to chat and catch up on what had happened since last time they met. He arrived at the same time as one of his friends and they greeted each other before going inside.

The two went inside the café and got themselves something to eat and sat at a table while they waited for the others to arrive. They had finished their snacks just as the other arrived and when they saw them enter the shop, they called them over. They all came and sat with them for a bit before getting up to also get something to eat.

While the little group was in line waiting for their turn to order, a small group of men entered the café. The friends noticed their presence but paid them no attention. They continued talking with each other but paused when a commotion broke out a few tables over. The men had begun arguing with some other patrons at the café and the argument was getting heated rather quickly. All throughout the café people began whispering to each other as they wondered what they men were arguing about. They heard bits and pieces but nothing that gave them a clear picture.

When the men noticed that people were whispering and staring they stopped screaming at their targets and looked around the shop. They yelled at people to back off and to mind their own business and this caused many to quickly avert their gaze. None of them wanted to get caught up in the middle of that spat. Those men, while not incredibly muscular, did look pretty strong. They definitely looked like they would be able to hold their own in a fight.

There was only one person who didn’t look away and that was the young man. The aggressive man seemed to take that as an invitation to fight. He stormed up to the young man who dared look at him, got in his face and screamed at him and asked him what he wanted. The young man simply asked the other if it was necessary to cause a scene in the café. He asked what the other men did to warrant such aggression. His friends tried to quietly encourage him to stop and walk away but he ignored them and held his ground.

He wanted to try and de-escalate the situation before it turned violent. The main aggressor didn’t seem to like that too much. He demanded that the young man get up and fight him like a real man if he insisted on interfering in someone else’s business. The young man declined and simply asked that the group of men didn’t cause any trouble. That seemed to be the last straw for the aggressor. He clenched his hand up into a fist, pulled his arm back and swung at the young man. His fist made a direct hit to the young man’s abdomen and the force knocked him off his seat.

Screams broke out in the café and the young man’s friend’s immediately rushed to his defense while the aggressor’s team did the same. Despite the young man’s protests, a fight between the two groups broke out. He tried yelling at them to stop but his voice was drowned out by the yelling of the people from both groups. They were so focused on fighting each other that they actually forgot about the young man’s presences entirely.

He remained on the floor and watched as the other patrons fled the café, not wanting to get dragged into the fight as well. As he watched his friends engaged in the fight, he felt like he had to do something. He couldn’t just sit back and watch as the people he cared about got hurt but he was sore from the punch so he was in no condition to fight.

Ignoring the pain the best he could, he crawled away from the immediate area and when he reached the entrance, got to his feet and staggered out to the street. He made his way a few meters down from the café and shouted at anyone who would listen for help. Unfortunately for him, those who heard and saw him took one glance and looked away. That didn’t stop him from trying to get their attention.

He kept trying but when no one listened he stumbled to the doorway of a bakery. He continued to call out for help and this finally caught the attention of three men who went over to the young man to see if they could assist him in any way. When they asked him what was wrong all he could say was that he needed help. The men noticed that this young man appeared to be disoriented so one man who wore a white shirt went into the store and purchased a water bottle which he offered to the young man who took it but did not drink.

The young man then tried to make his way inside the bakery but a man with a yellow shirt blocked his path. He told the young man that he shouldn’t go in and used his body to block the entrance every time he tried to enter the shop. He pleaded to the men to let him in, that he had to get help but when they asked him why, he just said that he needed help. Without him giving an explanation, the three men told him that he should be on his way. He wanted to protest and anxiously shifted from one foot to the next but eventually gave up. He was worried for his friends and hopped that they were alright but was still too shocked to go back and check. He had to find help elsewhere so he walked away.

He only went a few feet away to a jewelry store. The men watched him go and despite the shop owner having stepped out for a bit, the door opened and the young man made his way inside. The man in the yellow shirt watched then followed the young man, worried that he might possibly be stealing something. He and some other bystanders watched the young man as he staggered in the shop and when he saw that no one was inside, he attempted to make his way back out but the door wouldn’t open. It locked after the young man had entered and now only the store owner could open it.

In a panic from being locked in, the young man picked up a nearby fire extinguisher and tried to break the glass on the door but it was too strong. However, that didn’t stop him. He had to get back to his friends. To hell with his sore abdomen. He had to make sure that they were okay and he wasn’t about to let the locked door stop him.

He went over to a small window located near the ground and smashed the fire extinguisher against it. The glass of this window was weaker than the door and shattered under the force. With an opening now available, the young man set the fire extinguisher down and crawled out through the window but was met with a small crowd that had now gathered, among them was the store’s owner who was not pleased.

The moment the young man made it out from the store, the group of men began kicking and yelling at him. He did his best to shield himself from the attacks but there were too many. The blows kept on coming and the men shouted at him. They called him a no-good thief. This puzzled the young man. He wasn’t a thief. Why would these men think such a thing? All he was doing was trying to seek help for his friends.

It started off with just two men kicking him but soon others joined in after witnessing the commotion. He tried pleading with them to stop as he did his best to defend himself but they didn’t stop. The kicks continued. To the young man, the incident seemed to last forever and when it finally died down he was left weak and unable to move. All he saw was a blur of faces and he could faintly hear a voice calling for someone to call an ambulance. He felt relieved. He would get some help after that and when the police arrived then he would be able to inform them what happened at the café with those men and his friends. He wanted to ask the cops to check in on them to make sure they were alright.

He didn’t know how much time had passed but soon the police and medics arrived on scene. While the officers interviewed witnesses, a medic checked on the young man’s injuries. He tried communicating to the medic, to tell him about his friends but he was unable to speak. He was in so much pain and he was numb.

Without being able to speak, he took it upon himself to check on his friends. He ignored the pain and pounding in his head and managed to get up on his feet. He tried to leave and make his way back to the café but he could barely walk. His legs felt stiff. He stumbled a few steps and when the police noticed him trying to leave they immediately rushed to stop him. He fell to the ground before two officers surrounded him. They pinned him to the ground and to the young man’s surprise, he felt his hands forcibly turned behind his back and felt the cold metal of handcuffs as they clicked around his wrists. That couldn't be right. Why was he being arrested? His head hurt so much that he could barely make sense of anything that was happening around him.

He tried to tell the authorities of his friends at the café. He wanted to tell them that they should go check on the situation there. What if it had escalated? What if one or more of his friends had ended up like them? Nearly everyone had run out of the shop when the fight broke out. Would there have been anyone who would have seen the incident and called the police? What if one of them had been seriously injured? More so than him? He turned his head the best he could to face the cops but this little action was enough to tip them over the edge.

The young man felt the police officers kick him as he was pinned to the ground by at least three officers. How could this be happening? What had he done to justify this much force? It was unnecessary even when dealing with an armed criminal but the young man wasn’t armed. Not only that but he had already been beaten down. He was of no threat to anyone.

As the pounding in his head continued, the young man could feel himself drifting off into unconsciousness. He didn’t try to fight it. He let himself fall asleep. At least if he was unconscious he wouldn’t be able to feel the kicks that the police were giving him. The last thing he was able to make out through his blurry vision was the pool of blood that now surrounded his head.

Blood.

His blood.

Despite him now being unconscious and unable to do anything, the police kept the handcuffs on the young man. After giving him some more kicks, they deemed it safe enough for the medics to come over. The medics placed the young man on a stretcher and carried him to the ambulance. He was loaded in the back and when the doors were shut the vehicle rushed to the nearest hospital while the medics did their best to treat his injuries.

However, the young man died before they could reach the hospital.

His name was Zak Kostopoulos and he was just 33 years old.

AFTERMATH

After his death, people demanded answers. They turned to the coroner's office who initially said that the cause of death couldn’t be determined at the current moment because an initial examination of the body showed injuries that could not explain the death. They were minor bruises and nothing that would suggest a cause of death. For that to be confirmed they had to wait on lab tests. When those came back it revealed that Zak was not under the influence of any sort of drugs or alcohol which many believed at first. The official cause of his death was listed as an Ischaemic attack that was a direct result of his injuries since he had no history of heart issues.

An Ischaemic attack is also referred to as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) but is also known as a "mini stroke". This condition is caused when the brain is temporarily denied a blood supply which means there is no oxygen being delivered to the organ. This leads to symptoms that are similar to a stroke but it doesn’t last as long. A person can feel the effects for a few minutes or up to a few hours and they can completely go away within 24 hours. If not treated right away it can lead to death which is seen in Zak’s case.

At first, the authorities weren’t rushing to investigate. They felt like the case was closed. They were so unconcerned with it that they allowed the jewelry shop owner to clean up the mess which could and probably did result in the destruction of potential evidence which would have been vital to understanding this case.

Nothing had been done such as arrests or even an investigation until videos began to surface on the internet of the incident. Those videos were important when it came to revealing what really happened. The videos came from cellphone cameras and surveillance cameras from the bakery. Only when these got huge media attention was action taken against the people who beat Zak.

A year after his death, justice had still not been brought on the men who had attacked Zak which led to protests across Greece and even in other European countries. His family had filed a lawsuit against the two men for “murder on intent” and a lawsuit against the officers involved for “manslaughter” but they didn’t have too much faith in the system.

At first, before the video surfaced, the officers all denied the claim that they had used excessive force. They claimed that they were just doing their job and responding to a call about an armed robber however that claim would be difficult to defend after multiple videos from different angles made rounds on the internet.

Now, after all this time a trial date has been set. On Facebook, a user by the name of Nikos Tsatsalidis says that the trial is set to take place on October 21st, 2020. This is 25 months after Zak’s brutal murder.

When it comes to the report of him being armed with a knife, there was a knife found on the scene but it still has not been confirmed to be Zak’s or not. There were traces of a fingerprint on said knife but it hasn’t been confirmed to be Zak’s or not as there are others all over. This is a result of multiple handling the piece of evidence beforehand which can complicate the case.

IN LIFE

Zak was a gay man and a well known figure in the Greek LGBTQ+ community and was an activist for that cause along with bringing awareness about HIV/AIDS. He had made a YouTube video back in 2013 where he spoke about what it’s like living as someone who has been diagnosed with HIV and reassured others who might also be diagnosed with it as part of a campaign.

Along with being an activist for these two causes, he was also a drag queen who went by the name of “Zackie Oh” when performing. For Pride the following year in Greece, they dedicated it to Zak.

Photo shared by Facebook user Natasa Lymperopoulou

~~~

*Zak’s mother wrote a letter demanding justice which you can read here*.

(For those of you who are curious, I have tracked down the location where this took place: Gladstonos, Athina 106 77, Greece. Judging from my research, this seems to be the approximate place where the incident occurred.)

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Coroners Attribute Zak Kostopoulos' Death to Ischaemic Event Related to Injuries”. The National Herald, 20 November 2018, https://www.thenationalherald.com/archive_general_news_greece/arthro/coroners_attribute_zak_kostopoulos_death_to_ischaemic_event_related_to_injuries-48682/#gsc.tab=0.

  2. Coroner's Office: Death of Zak Kostopoulos Not Linked to Substances”. The National Herald, 20 November 2018, https://www.thenationalherald.com/archive_whats_new/arthro/coroner_s_office_death_of_zak_kostopoulos_not_linked_to_substances-14454/#gsc.tab=0.

  3. Demand Justice for Zak Kostopoulos”. Amnesty International, https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/greece-justice-for-zak/.

  4. DNA evidence but only partial prints found on knife in Zak Kostopoulos incident”. Newsroom. The Greek Observer, 9 October 2018, https://thegreekobserver.com/blog/2018/10/09/dna-evidence-but-only-partial-prints-found-on-knife-in-zak-kostopoulos-incident/.

  5. Forensics mystery: Zak Kostopoulos DNA found on “his” knife but no fingerprints”. Keep Talking Greece, 9 October 2018, https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2018/10/09/zak-kostopoulos-knife-dna/.

  6. Forensic report on death of LGBTQ activist inconclusive”. Ekathimerini, 24 November 2018, https://www.ekathimerini.com/232906/article/ekathimerini/news/forensic-report-on-death-of-lgbtq-activist-inconclusive

  7. Gay activist dies in Athens after brutal public beating”. Alexander Kacala. NBC News, 25 September 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/gay-activist-dies-athens-after-brutal-public-beating-n913056.

  8. Gay activist Zak Kostopoulos lynched to death in Greece”. Sofia Lotto Persio. MSN News, 24 September, 2018, https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/gay-activist-zak-kostopoulos-lynched-to-death-in-greece/ar-AAAAu1N.

  9. IN LOVING MEMORY OF ZAK KOSTOPOULOS”. André Lund Rømer. Human Library, 21 October 2018, https://humanlibrary.org/in-loving-memory-of-zak-kostopoulos/.

  10. Officers to appear in court over Kostopoulos death”. Ekathimerini, 3 December 2018, https://www.ekathimerini.com/235296/article/ekathimerini/news/officers-to-appear-in-court-over-kostopoulos-death.

  11. POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED OVER DEATH OF GREEK GAY HIV ACTIVIST ZAK KOSTOPOULOS”. Laurence Barber. The Star Observer, 6 December 2018, https://www.starobserver.com.au/news/international-news-news/police-officers-charged-over-death-of-greek-gay-hiv-activist-zak-kostopoulos/173942.

  12. Queer activist beaten to death in the street as a crowd stands and watches”. David Grant. Queerty, 24 September, 2018, https://www.queerty.com/queer-activist-beaten-death-street-crowd-stands-watches-20180924.

  13. Remembering LGBT activist Zak Kostopoulos: killed by a lynch mob, slandered by Greek media”. Maria Soulis, Translated by Veroniki Bacharidi-Krikoni. Global Voices, 3 December 2018, https://globalvoices.org/2018/12/03/remembering-lgbt-activist-zak-kostopoulos-killed-by-a-lynch-mob-slandered-by-greek-media/.

  14. Six in the dock over death of gay activist”. Ekathimerini, 20 January 2020, https://www.ekathimerini.com/248642/article/ekathimerini/news/six-in-the-dock-over-death-of-gay-activist.

  15. THE KILLING OF ZAK KOSTOPOULOS”. The Forensic Architecture Team. Forensic Architecture, 9 April 2019, https://forensic-architecture.org/investigation/the-killing-of-zak-kostopoulos.

  16. Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)”. NHS, 21 January 2020, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/transient-ischaemic-attack-tia/.

  17. Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)”. The Stroke Foundation, https://strokefoundation.org.au/About-Stroke/Types-of-stroke/Transient-Ischaemic-Attack-TIA.

  18. Un militant LGBT grec décède en plein centre d'Athènes : que s'est-il passé ?”. Philippe Peyre. Komitid, 26 September 2018, https://www.komitid.fr/2018/09/26/un-militant-lgbt-grec-decede-en-plein-centre-dathenes-que-sest-il-passe/.

  19. Zak assassiné à Athènes le 21/09/18”. Paris-Lutte, 10 October 2018, https://paris-luttes.info/zak-assassine-a-athenes-le-21-09-10819.

  20. Zak Kostopoulos family file against jeweler and estate agent for “intentional murder””. Keep Talking Greece, 13 Febuary 2019, https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2019/02/13/zak-kostopoulos-murder/.

  21. Zak Kostopoulos: Protesters demand “Justice” one year after his brutal murder”. Keep Talking Greece, 22 September 2019, https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2019/09/22/zak-kostopoulos-justice-protest/.

  22. Ζακ Κωστόπουλος: Video από κάμερα ασφαλείας λίγο πριν το θάνατό του”. NewsIt, 3 October 2018, https://www.newsit.gr/ellada/zak-kostopoulos-video-apo-kamera-asfaleias-ligo-prin-to-thanato-tou/2629407/.

  23. Ζακ Κωστόπουλος: Υπάρχουν μάρτυρες που κρύβονται; Ποιοι ήταν μαζί του λίγο πριν τον θάνατό του”. NewsIt, 27 September 2018, https://www.newsit.gr/egklhma/zak-kostopoulos-yparxoun-martyres-pou-kryvontai-poioi-itan-mazi-tou-ligo-prin-ton-thanato-tou/2624673/.

Images

  1. Photo of Zak Kostopoulos. Natasa Pantazopoulou, uploaded by Zak Kostopoulos. Facebook, 2 December 2013, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202443985558732&set=a.1590904330307&type=3&theater.

  2. Photo of Zak Kostopoulos. Natasa Lymperopoulou. Facebook, 20 October 2018 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1990661247646590&set=t.1166839111&type=3&theater.

Other Media

  1. Post concerning Zak Kostopoulos. Gregory Vallianatos. Facebook 23 September 2018, https://www.facebook.com/gregory.vallianatos.3/posts/10215075816521586?tn=-R.

  2. Athens Pride Week 2019”. This is Athens, http://www.thisisathens.org/events/thens-pride-week-2019.

  3. "You've got this" #HIV campaign - Zak Kostopoulos". Zak Kostopoulos. YouTube, 28 August 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xhn0d6KUDU&feature=share.

  4. Post with trial date. Nikos Tsatsalidis. Facebook, 4 June 2020, https://www.facebook.com/nikos.tsatsalides/posts/10220197140870828


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