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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

In Jamaica, Swedish film crew making LGBT documentary attacked, harassed by police

Kingston, JamaicaKingston image via Wikipedia
By Paul Canning

Jamaican LGBT leader Maurice Tomlinson reports that a Swedish film crew that visited Jamaica recently  to record a documentary on the island's human rights situation "got a first-hand look at our notorious homophobia and police excesses."

On Saturday, May 21, the crew went to an inner-city community in Kingston to interview two gay men. The vehicle in which the men and the crew were travelling was set upon by an angry mob armed with machetes and other weapons demanding that the gays leave the area. No one was hurt, and the crew managed to capture the faces of some of their attackers on film.

When the crew tried to record some images in downtown Kingston on Wednesday, May 25, a policeman confiscated their equipment on the grounds that they did not have a permit. At the police station, colleagues convinced the confiscating cop to return the crew's camera equipment. The cop also apologised and advised that he was only trying to prevent foreign crews portraying Jamaica in a negative light.

Says Tomlinson:
"Sadly, such arbitrary action has only reinforced the perception of wanton extrajudicial behaviour on the part of our police."
A leaked diplomatic cable published today said that the problem of corruption in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) was so severe that the Police (Civilian) Oversight Authority (PCOA) had turned to the American Embassy for help.

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