Gay Jamaican cop eyes asylum in Canada

Feb. 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM

TORONTO, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- A Jamaican police officer who went public that he is gay is seeking asylum in Canada and told the Toronto Star he is in hiding in fear for his life.

Constable Michael Hayden, 24, went public this month in the Jamaica Star newspaper, and told the Toronto newspaper he has since been repeatedly attacked by fellow officers after making the disclosure.

"I want to stay here and fight," Hayden said in a telephone interview. "But it's not safe for me. My life is in great, great jeopardy."

The four-year veteran of the Jamaican Constabulary Police Force said he had requested leave and was in hiding. Police officials wouldn't comment, the Toronto Star said.

Last month, 30-year-old Jamaican gay activist Gareth Henry fled the country and sought refugee status in Canada. He now lives in Toronto.

Henry claimed in a telephone interview he's lost 13 gay friends in Jamaica since 2004 but police often blame the victims' lovers or other gay men for the homicides, the Star said.

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