A group of three men in Jamaica kidnapped, disfigured, then set fire to an 18-year-old who believed he was meeting a man from a gay dating site.
The victim, from St. James, told police that he went to a location at Montego Bay where he and the man from the gay dating site agreed to meet. When he got there, the man showed up with two others, according to local newspaper The Gleaner. They took the victim’s cell phone, wallet, and bank cards. They then assaulted him until he told them his bank information.
Afterward, the alleged assailants tried to use the victim’s bank card to get money out of an ATM but failed to withdraw the cash.
“They returned to where they were holding their victim, and on this occasion, he was forced to transfer money into an account that they gave him,” a police officer told the paper.
The officer said the three men were drinking alcohol and doused the victim in it, cut off part of his penis, set him on fire, and left him to die.
“He is a very lucky young man because although they left him in a critical condition, he managed to make his way to a security checkpoint in the community where they assisted him to the hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition,” the officer added.
The incident isn’t the first of its kind. The paper reported that a similar scheme had been set up before where kidnappers and thieves would use a gay dating site to lure victims to secure locations to rob them. However, authorities believed they had ended the practice.
In January 2020, a similar case caught international headlines when a warehouse manager, 43-year-old Allie Jackson, also used the gay dating site to meet with someone. He went missing. Eventually, his body was found in a shallow grave.
Two men have been arrested and charged with Jackson’s death, according to The Gleaner.
“Authorities in Jamaica should send a message that such crimes against LGBT people will not be tolerated by urgently conducting a thorough and independent investigation into the case to bring those responsible to justice,” Human Rights Watch LGBTQ+ researcher Cristian González Cabrera said in a statement to The Advocate.
LGBTQ+ Jamaicans are regularly discriminated against in public life. An HRW report from 2014 found widespread anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the country, with often mixed responses from authorities and the public.
The country still recognizes the 1864 Offences Against the Person Act, which punishes the “abominable crime of buggery” and acts of “gross indecency” between males with up to 10 years in prison with hard labor. The law, according to advocates, maintains social prejudices and legalizes anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Back in February, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a decision calling on Jamaica to repeal laws prohibiting consensual same-sex conduct. It’s something, according to HRW, that lawmakers should agree to.
“In addition to providing justice for the St. James victim and decriminalizing same-sex conduct, Jamaica should gather data on violence and discrimination against LGBT and train public officials on addressing such cases,” Cabrera said. “These steps would begin to remove the cloak of law from anti-LGBT discrimination and the violence it encourages and would signal that Jamaica is committed to upholding the fundamental human rights of all individuals.”