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Gay rights activists demand fair treatment by court

Gay rights activists on Monday picketed outside the Vigilance Magistrates’ Court where a gay juvenile was appearing on a charge of assault after an arrest warrant was issued for him.

The Society Against Sexual Orientation (SASOD) and Guyana Trans United (GTU) protested outside the East Coast Demerara court moments before 16-year old Michael Andrews was due to appear before Magistrate Sueanna Lovell.

Andrews was arrested on Saturday, June 7, 2014 for missing his court date last Friday. His case is that he acted in self-defence after several youths attacked him last August at an annual dance at Buxton, East Coast Demerara because he appeared effeminate.

Magistrate Suenna Lovell postponed the case for June 30 after Andrews explained why he missed court for the first time last week Friday. Executive member of SASOD, Joel Simpson told Demerara Waves Online News that the boy believed that he was due to appear on Friday, June 14, 2014 instead.

At least one of the alleged attackers from Buxton has been charged with assaulting Andrews.

Simpson said Andrews voluntarily reported to a police station to enquire whether an arrest warrant was issued for him and he was arrested and held until Monday. He said SASOD was particular peeved that no summons was issued before an arrest warrant for the teen who has never missed a court date although he is studying and working.

Family members and activists, according to Simpson, are peeved that they are being told to leave the courtroom whenever the case is called by the substantive magistrate. “This is not anything that warrants an in-camera hearing,” said Simpson.

The placards read “LGBT Guyanese Demand Fair and Equal Treatment under the Law,” and  “Human Rights and Equality for All: No exceptions!”, “