Saturday, April 02, 2011

Gay Killings Shock Mongolia;
Burnt Dead HIV+ Man's Hand Cut-Off

(A photo from the "Beyond the Blue Sky" series of portraits featuring the LGBT community of Mongolia. To protect the safety of the people in the pix, their faces are covered with a traditional blue shawl called a khadag. Among its various uses, the khadag often covers the faces of the deceased. Credit: Markeike Gunsche and Brandt Miller.)

On the Euro-Queer listserv today, a disturbing report was posted by Robyn Garner who serves as the executive director of the LGBT Centre in Mongolia's capital, about two recent murders of a gay dentist and a bisexual HIV positive man.

It can get quite depressing and frustrating reading about such deadly senseless and barbaric assaults, wondering what the hell can I do to help the gay folks in the country where the horrific violent acts occurred. Sometimes it's enough just to read the reports; other times I'm compelled to share the info here, as with the Mongolian murders.

One thing that stands out here is the mention of the cops interviewing only gays as potential perpetrators of the crimes, because it echoes the complaints that come from Jamaican and Ugandan activists about their local police forces dealing with the terrible killings in the same way.

Assume another gay has committed the crime, suggest it's a case of a gay romance gone sour, or a number of other excuses to essentially let the slayings go un-investigated and the guilty to escape prosecution and punishment, is a rotten attitude of too many police departments around the globe.

I'll make the gay Mongolians aware that I'm blogging about the murders they're dealing with, and hope that my small act of calling some attention to the deaths provides a bit of solidarity to them from the other side of our planet.

Here is the full report:

2011/04/02 ULAANBAATAR: Two killings in as many months have shocked Mongolian LGBT community.

A gay male of forty to fifty years of age who went by a nickname S. in the community, a dentist by profession who had a practice in Zuunkharaa town, Selenge province, was found brutally murdered sometime in January 2011. Although the murder took place over two and a half months ago, no definitive headway has been made in the case, and no reports of investigation have been made public.

Another member of the community, an HIV positive bisexual male E. of forty to forty five years of age, one of the founders of a community-based non-governmental organisation working for HIV positive people, went missing at the end of February 2011.

According to the reports from the community, his mutilated body was found on 24 or 25 March 2011: his right hand was cut off and his body was burnt.

Although it is obvious that these are hate crimes, police questioned only gay and bisexual males in the city in relation to the latest murder as the gay and bisexual males are immediately considered automatic suspects in such cases.

The OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] definition of hate crime is clear: they are "criminal offences carried out against people or their property because of their real or perceived connection, attachment, affiliation, support or membership of a group. A group may be based upon characteristics such as real or perceived race, national or ethnic origin, religion, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or other similar factor".

Hate crimes are devastating in their effects since they instill terror and fear in the targeted community. Mongolia has no legal definition of hate crimes, nor are there anti-hate crime legislations.

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