Trinidad to rule on sodomy law

The Guardian Weekly - - World roundup -

2 Trinidad and Tobago could make le­gal his­tory in the Caribbean this week by rolling back long-stand­ing ho­mo­pho­bic laws.

A high court judge, Devin­dra Ram­per­sad, is due to de­liver his ver­dict this week in a land­mark case brought by a pri­vate cit­i­zen that, if suc­cess­ful, would set a prece­dent for re­mov­ing sim­i­lar laws across the re­gion.

In March 2017, Ja­son Jones, an LGBT ac­tivist, took the gov­ern­ment of Trinidad and Tobago to court, fil­ing a law­suit to strike down the so-called bug­gery law, which dates from Bri­tish rule. Jones ar­gues that sec­tion 13 of the is­land’s Sex­ual Of­fences Act, which crim­i­nalises anal sex, is un­con­sti­tu­tional be­cause it vi­o­lates his right to pri­vacy, lib­erty and free­dom of ex­pres­sion.

Trinidad and Tobago’s con­sti­tu­tion was writ­ten in 1976 when the coun­try be­came in­de­pen­dent from Great Bri­tain. In 1986, its par­lia­ment rewrote the act, in­creas­ing the max­i­mum penalty for sodomy be­tween adults to 25 years’ im­pris­on­ment.

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