Four homophobic lesbian killer killer jailed

Four South African men have been sentenced to 18 years in jail for stabbing and stoning to death 19-year-old lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana in 2006.

The court found that the men killed Ms Nkonyana because she was living openly as a lesbian.

A crowd outside the court in Khayelitsha, a Cape Town township, cheered and danced at the sentencing.

The constitution protects people on the grounds of sexual orientation – but homophobia is widespread.

Lubabalo Ntlabathi, Sicelo Mase, Luyanda Londzi and Mbulelo Damba – who were convicted in October – were each given 18 years.

Their jail terms were each suspended for five years.

Five other people were acquitted.

Ms Nkonyana was stoned and stabbed nine times in February 2006, just metres from her home in Khayelitsha.

The magistrate said it was clear the motive for the killing was hatred and homophobia – and Wednesday’s sentence was meant to send out a signal that violence based on sexual orientation will not be tolerated, the South African Press Association reports.

In December, the global rights group Human Rights Watch said in a report that South Africa is “desperately failing lesbian and transgender people” – despite the country’s liberal laws.

The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says violence against gay and lesbian people is common.

Lesbians are often subjected to “corrective rape” by men who think this will “cure” them of their homosexuality.

Three years ago, a man was sentenced to life in prison and another to 32 years for the gang rape, robbery and murder of Eudy Simelane, a lesbian activist who had been a midfielder on the national football team.


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