Bullied out of court: A Jamacian says he is dropping a legal challenge to the country’s buggery laws out of fear for the safety of himself and his family
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A young Jamaican gay rights activist who brought an unprecedented legal challenge to the Caribbean island’s anti-sodomy law has withdrawn the claim after growing fearful about violent backlashes, advocacy groups and colleagues said Friday.
Last year, Javed Jaghai made headlines after initiating a constitutional court challenge to Jamaica’s 1864 law that bans sex between men. He argued that the anti-sodomy law fuels homophobia and violates a charter of human rights adopted in 2011 that guarantees people the right to privacy.
But in an affidavit, Jaghai said he has been “threatened enough times to know that I am vulnerable.” The 25-year-old man believes his “loved ones are under threat” by intolerant people and the drawn-out court challenge is causing too much stress and anxiety.
“Though the cause and the case are noble, I am no longer willing to gamble with my life or the lives of my parents and siblings,” Jaghai wrote in a statement withdrawing his Supreme Court claim.
Jamaica’s rarely used anti-sodomy law bans anal sex and sets a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and hard labor. Anything interpreted as “gross indecency” between men can be punished by two years in prison.