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Paramedic arrested for killing gay men in Pakistan

A 28-year-old paramedic, who wanted to eliminate the “evil” of homosexuality from the Pakistani society, has been arrested there for allegedly killing five gay men he befriended on a social-networking site.

Ejaz, who used to make friendships with his potential victims on Facebook, has confessed to the murder of three men.

The three victims, including two teenagers, were found with their necks broken and had been sedated. Ejaz told reporters that he wanted to eliminate the “evil” of homosexuality from society.

Ejaz was married in 2011 and has two infant children. He has been sent to four-day physical remand after being arrested.

Police insist Ejaz had sex with his victims first and then killed them, which Ejaz has denied.

“After remaining in contact with them for some time, he called his victims at different pizza shops and sprinkled a sedative liquid on the food they ate and then took them to his place,” police said. “He strangled them after having sex with them.”

Officials said the accused was traced after they examined the call logs of his victims. Sodomy is punishable by up to 10 years in jail under the Pakistan Penal Code. The accused has been booked under the murder and sodomy charges.

Australia: Indian gay student granted asylum

A gay Indian student whose family attempted to force him into an arranged marriage with a woman has been granted asylum in Australia.

The 25-year-old, who lives with his boyfriend in New South Wales, was granted asylum last week.

The commerce graduate first arrived on a student visa in March 2009.

He said that when he returned to India in 2011, he was held captive by his father in his home city of Hyderabad and pressured to enter an arranged marriage.

He alleged he was also threatened by his male cousins, who held a knife to his throat, and by a local Muslim cleric.

He escaped with the help of a family friend, but upon reaching Australia was eventually rejected on the grounds of asylum.

The immigration department found in July 2012 that while he was homosexual, the mistreatment did not amount to persecution.

Granting him leave to stay last week, the Refugee Review Tribunal held that, if he returned to India, it was “reasonable to believe he would be assaulted and probably forced to marry, and if he were to refuse he would probably face more serious harm and be killed.”

The judgment continued: “If the applicant were to return and try to relocate, this would result in his being disowned by his family and probably they would seek to find and harm him. I also accept that he would not be able to live openly as a homosexual in India at any location as, if he did, this would result in ostracism and probable further significant harm.”

The man and his partner had registered to marry in Australian Capital Territory, before ACT’s same-sex marriage law was struck down in December.

His partner told the tribunal: “We are committed to be together for life. The law in Australia treats everyone as equal.”

Pride flag flying in Uganda

A man has planted a rainbow flag at the top of Uganda’s highest mountain to protest the country’s antigay laws.

Activist Neal Gottlieb made the challenging 16,753-foot climb up Mount Stanley, at the country’s Western border, to Margherita Peak.

After reaching the top, he took a photo with the rainbow flag, which he posted to Facebook along with an open letter to the country’s president, inviting him to take the flag down himself.

It reads: “Dear President Museveni of Uganda: Your country’s highest point is no longer its soil, its snow or a summit marker, but rather a gay Pride flag waving brilliantly, shining down from above as a sign of protest and hope [on] behalf of the many thousands of Ugandans that you seek to repress and the many more that understand the hideous nature of your repressive legislation.

“If you don’t like said flag on your highest peak, I urge you to climb up and take it down.

“However, you are an old man and surely the six-day climb through the steep, muddy bogs and up the mountain’s glaciers is well beyond your physical ability. Your days are more limited than most. Do you want your remaining days to be yet another blight on the history of your nation or will you find the strength to reverse your actions and allow all Ugandans to be free?”

President Yoweri Museveni gave assent to a law in February that further criminalizes homosexuality in the country.

Japan: First Lady makes surprise appearance at Tokyo Pride parade

Japan’s First Lady took part in Tokyo’s Pride parade April 27, voicing her support for LGBT people.

Akie Abe, wife of the country’s conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, appeared atop a float in the Rainbow Pride parade, which more than 3,000 people marched in.

The First Lady later wrote on her Facebook page: “I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination. I had the pleasure of spending a fun time filled with smiles. Thank you.”

She added she has been invested in the issue since joining a UNAIDS and Lancet medical journal commission last year.

Her husband did not join her at the event, and instead spent the day visiting victims of the 2011 tsunami.

She is jokingly referred to as the “domestic opposition party” in the country due to her outspoken views, which often conflict with her husband’s policies.

Japan does not allow same-sex marriage, defining marriage as “based only on the mutual consent of both sexes.” A recent poll found a majority still opposed the issue.

It also does not have national nondiscrimination laws, though some cities have adopted them regionally.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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