An anti-gay group distributed fliers in Liberia with a “hit list” of people who support gay rights and threatened to “get to them one by one.” The fliers are just the latest in a hostile national debate about the country’s gay rights position.
Liberian lawmakers recently introduced new legislation that would criminalize homosexuality and make it punishable with jail time, if convicted. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vowed last month to maintain an existing law criminalizing sodomy, which prompted a statement from the U.S. State Department decrying the efforts.
The fliers distributed were signed by the Movement Against Gays in Liberia. The flier stated that those involved in promoting equality “should not be given space to get a gulp of air.”
“Having conducted a comprehensive investigation, we are convinced that the below listed individuals are gays or supporters of the club who don’t mean well for our country,” the flier read. “Therefore, we have agreed to go after them using all means in life.”
While no individual members of MOGAL signed the flier, Moses Tapleh, 28, told the Washington Post he was affiliated with the group. He said the threats should be taken seriously.
We will get to them one by one,” Tapleh said. “They want to spoil our country.”
When asked what actions might be taken he said they could be subjected to “dangerous punishments” including “flogging and death.”
The list includes the names of two men who tried in January to legalize gay marriage. The pair has since been subjected to protests by mobs and threats of violence.
The campaign push came just a month after the United States announced a new government policy to push for the decriminalization of homosexuality around the globe. Just as in other African countries where homosexuality remains a difficult topic for public discussion, the announcement was condemned by Liberian officials and media outlets. Although sodomy is currently outlawed, Liberian law does not address homosexuality.