Buju Banton faces
trial for gay-bashing charge

Reggae artist
Buju Banton will face trial this month for his alleged role
in an attack against a group of gay men in Jamaica's capital
last year, a judge said Friday. The 31-year-old Banton
and Horace Hill are accused of beating six gay men in
June 2004 at a home in the Red Hills Road section of
Kingston. Both men have pleaded not guilty. They will be
tried on October 19.

A spokesperson
for the local gay rights group, J-Flag, said one of the
men reported the matter to the police, who arrested Banton
and Hill on September 23. Gay rights groups like the
United Kingdom's Outrage! have reported the incident
on their Web sites.

Banton, a
Grammy-nominated performer, has been at odds with gay rights
advocates since 1994, when he recorded the homophobic anthem
"Boom Bye Bye," which talks about shooting gays. Last
year the Rastafarian rapper along with other popular
dancehall acts like Capleton and Sizzla were forced to
cancel dates in Europe and North America after protests by
gay groups that their music promoted violence against gays
and lesbians. (Howard Campbell, via AP)

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