afrol News, 3 January - Authorities in Sierra Leone have detained and charged the suspected killer of FannyAnn Eddy, the country's outspoken campaigner for gay and lesbian rights. The suspected killer is said to be a disgruntled ex-employee of Ms Eddy and the murder is thus not anymore put in connection with her human rights work.
The Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association (SLLAGA), which was founded by Ms Eddy in 2002, has reported that the principal suspect in the murder of the SLLAGA leader was been arrested in December. The assumed killer was charged with two counts by Sierra Leonean police; murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The accused is said to be a disgruntled janitorial worker whom Ms Eddy had fired weeks prior to the murder. At the time of his dismissal, the accused is reported to have threatened to "take revenge" on Ms Eddy. It is believed that at least one other person was involved in the crime.
The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police Force has expressed its commitment to investigating the possibility of a bias crime. At this time, however, the evidence that they have collected suggests that the principal motive was robbery.
The progress in Ms Eddy's murder case was welcomed by the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), which had learnt of these developments in end-December by its colleagues at Human Rights Watch and at SLLAGA. IGLHRC commended the CID's "responsiveness to international protocols for the investigation of a bias motive. We will continue to monitor and report on the proceedings of the case," the group said in a statement.
FannyAnn Eddy, aged 30, was found dead on the morning of 29 September 2004. While she was working alone in the SLLAGA's offices in Freetown the previous night, her assailants had apparently broken in to the premises. She was raped repeatedly, stabbed and her neck was broken.
Ms Eddy was Sierra Leone's most outstanding activist for the rights of sexual minorities, founding the SLLAGA in 2002. The group is providing social and psychological support to a fearful and underground community of gays and lesbians in Sierra Leone. Ms Eddy was lobbying government ministers to address the health and human rights needs sexual minorities. She left behind a 10-year-old son.
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