Amnesty report on gay imprisonment

Issue 

Amnesty report on gay imprisonment

By Deirdre Graham

At least 15 countries around the world are still imprisoning people for being gay, according to the human rights group Amnesty International. Australia, Russia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iran and Nicaragua are among those countries where homosexuality is regarded as a crime.

Amnesty's NSW spokesman Michael Puckridge said that the numbers of gay people imprisoned is hidden and gay people face trumped up charges such as "unruly behaviour". "There is so much hidden abuse going on. It's hard to tell the real numbers", he said.

In Colombia homosexuals are being gunned down in the street at night for being "social undesirables", and in China gays have been imprisoned in mental hospitals. In 1992 the police department in China was instructed not to punish homosexuals but to tell them to restrict their activities to their homes.

Puckridge says the Tasmanian government is wrong to keep its legislation on "unnatural sexual intercourse" when federal law overrides it.

"We're certainly lobbying them to change that", Puckridge said. "Freedom of sexual choice is a really important basic human right and not just something for gays to take action on."

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