October 10, 2011

IconFour found guilty of murdering lesbian in South Africa

Four men have been found guilty of the murder of a gay woman in Cape Town. The conviction comes after a lengthy five-year court battle.

Magistrate Raadiyah Wethon of the Khayelitsha Regional Court said that Zoliswa Nkonyana was attacked following a quarrel over her sexuality.

Nkonyana, an out lesbian, was beaten, stabbed and stoned to death by a group of men in 2006. The court case that followed her murder was delayed more than 30 times by various legal mishaps.

Three men who were present during Nkonyana’s murder were acquitted of the crime due to a lack of evidence. Two others were also released during an earlier part of the trial.

A number of activists are now concerned about reprisal attacks from the acquitted men. “They have been in prison for many years and we fear that they may seek revenge,” explained Gcobisa Nogova.

Homophobic crime – including the so-called “corrective rape” of lesbian and bisexual women – is common in South Africa in spite of the country’s positive gay rights record.

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Ruth Pearce

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