MONROVIA, Liberia — An extremist anti-gay group in the west African nation of Liberia distributed fliers this past weekend with a hit list of people who support gay rights, and said that those involved in promoting gay rights “should not be given space to get a gulp of air.”
One member of was quoted as saying he’d like to “get to them (LGBTQ People) one by one.”
The group, calling itself the Movement Against Gays in Liberia, stated in the fliers, “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. Therefore, we have agreed to go after them using all means in life.”
The Associated Press reported that no individual members of MOGAL signed the flier.
But Moses Tapleh, a 28-year-old resident of the main community where the flier was distributed, said he was affiliated with the group and stressed that its threats should be taken seriously.
The flier distributed in Liberia warned that the group would begin taking action shortly.
“Let these individuals be aware that we are coming after them soon,” the flier reads. “We urge them to also begin saying their Lord’s prayers.”
Asked what specific action might be taken against those on the list, Tapleh said they could be subjected to “dangerous punishments” including “flogging and death.”
The national debate over LGBTQ equality rights has become increasingly hostile in Liberia.
In February, the country’s lawmakers introduced legislation that would criminalize homosexuality as a felony, with convicted offenders punished with lengthy jail sentences in place of current statues that classify gay sex acts as first degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in prison.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said she would not sign legislation strengthening the current anti-gay laws, but would similarly not sign a bill repealing them.