Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Updates: Sentences in Sandy murder, Cuban LGBT org defines purpose, political asylum news

Sentencing reached in murder of gay black man: In a case that we have followed in the past, three men have received sentences for their involvement in the death of Michael J. Sandy, a young man who was lured to an empty parking lot near a secluded Brooklyn beach and was killed when he tried to escape his attackers.

The New York Times says that the comlpex divergence in sentencing reflected "
a confounding set of circumstances" while Gay City News points out that the ringleader could get out of jail in "as little as six years." A fourth man was previously sentenced last year when he pleaded guilty and agreed to testify for the prosecution.

Nascent Cuban LGBT rights organization defines its purpose:
In October we wrote of the birth of a gay rights organization in Cuba. Today, Bitacora Cubana says that the Cuban Movement for Homosexual Liberation met on Saturday to define its purpose and agreed to demand "legalization for sex-change surgeries and [the right] to change names; the court's recognition of same-sex couples; adoption rights and the recognition of matrimony and inheritance rights for LGBT individuals."

Political asylum:
In political asylum news Arthur S. Leonard tells us of a brand new case in which a gay man who was born in Portugal but lived most of his life in Venezuela was denied asylum in the United States in a decision released by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on November 6th.

A key reason for the denial? The fact that the asylum seeker had entered the United States on various occasions and had returned to Venezuela without apparent fear of persecution - until he filed for asylum.

In the meantime Ven Messam (pictured above in a Wockner News Photo), a Jamaican gay man, was recently granted asylum thanks to the work of Columbia University's Law School students whose department provides pro-bono assistance as a way to provide hands-on experience for students. Lucky are those asylum applicants that receive such assistance.

A Jamaican lesbian was not as fortunate when she sought political asylum in the United Kingdom. The court's response? "Try not to act gay."

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