An update on the trial of three men accused of the brutal murder of lesbian Eudy Simelane, the lesbian international South African soccer star killed in 2008. Before leaving her "naked body face down in a drainage ditch", her murderers gang-raped her and stabbed her nine times, autopsy results showed. One defendant received a life sentence and two were acquitted, reports the New York Times.
"In February, one of the attackers, Thato Mpithi, 23, pleaded guilty to murder, implicating three other men before denying their involvement almost six months later. On Tuesday, in a courtroom here in Delmas, two of the men he named were acquitted for lack of evidence, though the judge, Ratha Mokgoathleng, warned that they might someday have to answer to God. The other man on trial, Themba Mvubu, 24, had no reasonable explanation for his trousers’ being stained with Ms. Simelane’s blood. He received a life sentence but walked from the courtroom smiling, showing no contrition and telling a reporter, “Ach, I’m not sorry at all.” He disappeared down a stairway to a holding cell as some of Ms. Simelane’s friends shouted that they would prefer he be sliced into pieces."
Despite Simelane's sexual orientation, prosecutors never established her sexuality was the motive. The newspaper adds: "Judge Mokgoathleng was uncomfortable with the term lesbian itself. 'Is there another word that you can use instead of that one?' he asked the prosecutor."
Despite being the only African nation where same-sex marriage is legal, the reality is much different for many black South Africans and life in the impoverished townships is far less tolerant. South Africa has the highest incidences of rape in the world. So-called "corrective rape" attacks are said to be "on the increase" against lesbians in the townships, where rape and attacks against black gay men have also risen dramatically.
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