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Jamaican AIDS
activist murdered

Jamaican AIDS
activist murdered

Steve Harvey reportedly abducted by four men and shot in his back and head

Steve Harvey, a Jamaican AIDS activist, was found dead on November 30 in a rural area near his home, and police are calling his death a murder, Human Rights Watch reports. Jamaican police say at least four assailants forced their way into Harvey's home when he returned from work around 1 a.m., tied up Harvey and two people staying with him, stole a number of their possessions, and abducted Harvey in his company car. Harvey was found with gunshot wounds in his back and head in a rural area several miles from his home.

Harvey's housemates say the abductors claimed they were going to murder Harvey because he was gay, report officials with the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). AIDS experts in Jamaica say that widespread homophobia on the island nation often results in anyone working in the AIDS arena to be assumed to be gay or lesbian--and in antigay violence.

Harvey, who was 30 years old, worked with Jamaica AIDS Support and also served as Jamaica's representative to the Latin America and Caribbean Council of AIDS Service Organizations. As coordinator of targeted interventions for Jamaica AIDS Support, Harvey was responsible for ensuring that LGBT individuals, sex workers, and prisoners have access to HIV information and services.

"Steve Harvey was a person of extraordinary bravery and integrity, who worked tirelessly to ensure that some of Jamaica's most marginalized people had the tools and information to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS," said Rebecca Schleifer, a researcher with the HIV/AIDS and Human Rights Program at HRW. "It is essential that his murder does not succeed in intimidating other human rights workers. It is vital that the Jamaican government condemns this brutal crime, and brings the perpetrators to justice." (Advocate.com)

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