Thursday, September 24, 2009

Relief as lesbian football star, Eudy Simelane's killer jailed

Gay and lesbian activists in South Africa have welcomed the life sentence handed down to a man for the killing and gang rape of lesbian football star Eudy Simelane. The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project says lesbians are often targets of sexual violence by people wanting to "cure" their homosexuality.

BBC reports:
Judge Ratha Mokgoathleng described the attack as "brutal and undignified" and he believed Eudy Simelane and her attackers were known to each other. Themba Mvubu, who had pleaded not guilty to all charges, was also sentenced to 20 years for being an accomplice to rape and 15 years for robbery.

Two other men were acquitted.

In February, another man who had pleaded guilty to the charges was sentenced to 32 years. The prosecution initially had said sexuality was not a motive, but activists insisted it was a case of "corrective rape".

"We express relief at the conclusion of the trial, and thank everyone who has supported the mobilisations and campaign to ensure justice," The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project said in a statement sent to the BBC.

Ms Simelane was one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in KwaThema township near Johannesburg. More than 30 lesbians have been reported raped and murdered in homophobic attacks in South Africa since 1998.

Read more at BBC.